NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took advantage of the global presence at the 2018 International Astronautical Congress to sign three new agreements, underpinning the agency’s continued commitment to international cooperation. The agreements, with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Japan, covered lunar exploration, X-ray astronomy and human space flight.

NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) agreed to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL’s commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the Moon in 2019. NASA will contribute a laser retroreflector array to aid with ground tracking and Deep Space Network support to aid in mission communication. ISA and SpaceIL will share data with NASA from the SpaceIL lunar magnetometer installed aboard the spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site.

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency agreed to strengthen cooperative ties with the development of the X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM). Utilizing instruments which provide 30 times the resolution of the best previous observations with imaging, XRISM will conduct research on the structure formation of the Universe and evolution of clusters of galaxies, the transport and circulation of energy in the Universe and will aim to realize new science with the unprecedented high resolution X-ray spectroscopy.

NASA and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency signed an Implementing Arrangement that outlines cooperation across a range of areas related to space exploration and human spaceflight, including training of UAE astronauts by specialists and experts at NASA, utilizing the International Space Station and exploring the feasibility of conducting field studies and research in space biology, physical sciences and human research at the UAE’s Mars Scientific City.