An exciting new era of globally-coordinated space exploration is foreseen by the fourteen space organisations who met here in Kyoto, Japan from 7th to 9th March 2007.

Following a space exploration conference held in Washington in April 2006 hosted by NASA, the fourteen organisations created an informal ‘Global Exploration Strategy’ team. This group has met through workshops and teleconferences in order to prepare a long term perspective for space exploration. The team is focused mainly on the robotic and human exploration of solar system destinations – especially the Moon, Mars and near-Earth asteroids. At Kyoto about fifty representatives of the fourteen organisations met for an intensive series of rewarding discussions and made significant progress.

The main focus was on reviewing the draft version of a key document entitled “Global Exploration Strategy: A Framework for Coordination”. This will elaborate a shared view of space exploration which reflects each organisation’s interests and priorities.

Following the successful discussion, the document will now go through the final review and evaluation processes at each of the agencies or organisations that participated in the Kyoto workshop.

The participants also discussed future actions that would progress the shared view of global space exploration. An early priority could be to set up an International Coordination Mechanism. This would be a voluntary, non-binding forum where government-assigned space organisations can share plans for space exploration and explore collaboration.

During the discussions, JAXA expressed its openness to engage in international discussion on future opportunities for scientific payloads to be carried on solar system exploration missions. Participants warmly welcomed this positive contribution and looked forward to discussing collaborative opportunities.

Further, JAXA initiated an important discussion on how to maximise the benefits of solar system exploration missions through the sharing of scientific data obtained by such projects. Although some existing standards for data exchange exist, all agreed that progress on this issue could be supported by the Coordination Mechanism.

The GES Team looks forward to completing its work on the ‘Framework for Coordination’ in the near term and in establishing the Coordination Mechanism as a valuable contribution to the global space exploration effort. The team will continue its work and will meet again at the ESA/ASI workshop on Sustainable Space Exploration to be held in Spineto, Italy May 29th-June 1st 2007. In closing the meeting, JAXA proposed that it would host a further exploration meeting in one year’s time.

The organisations that were represented in the Kyoto Global Exploration Strategy workshop were:

ASI (Italy), BNSC (UK), CNES (France), CNSA (People’s Republic of China), CSA (Canada), CSIRO (Australia), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), KARI (Republic of Korea), NASA (United States), NSAU (Ukraine) and Roscosmos (Russia).