NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Canadian Space Agency President Steve MacLean signed a framework agreement Sept. 9 governing cooperative activities between the two allies involving the peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

During a signing ceremony at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, Bolden said the framework agreement is an important step in an evolving relationship between Canada and the United States, which have partnered for the past 40 years on a range of activities related to human spaceflight, space science and Earth observation. Bolden described the legally binding agreement as the “culmination of many years of work” and said it will “strengthen our partnership on things we’ve kind of had to fight our way to do before.”

The agreement contains the legal elements required under international law to facilitate timely cooperation between government agencies, scientists and industry contractors in both countries on cooperative exploration and science projects. Its provisions address, among other areas, the transfer of data and goods and intellectual property rights.

Bolden said NASA is very proud of its long relationship with Canada, which he characterized as one of increasing collaboration on a wide range of activities. He said the two countries share a common vision for space exploration and stewardship of the planet, areas in which international allies will play increasingly key roles.

MacLean said the framework agreement will contribute to maturing a decades-old space alliance and that the Canadian Space Agency is committed to continuing joint efforts with NASA, which he described as being at a crossroads with respect to the future of exploration.