NASA & BNSC sign agreement on lunar science and exploration
Rocketeer — Wed, 02/05/2007 - 8:09pm
NASA and the British National Space Centre (BNSC) have signed a
historic agreement to jointly study how the two space agencies might
work together on future planetary exploration to the Moon and beyond.
A joint team is to be established to conduct a study into specific
areas of US-UK potential collaboration involving lunar science and
Science and Innovation Minister Malcolm Wicks said: "During my recent
meeting with NASA's Administrator Dr Michael Griffin, I was keen for
the USA and UK to co-operate on exactly this sort of exciting
"I am delighted that this important agreement has been signed between
our two space agencies which could provide an opportunity to harness
the UK's world-class expertise in small satellite and robotic
The UK space sector is worth £4.8 billion per annum, supports 70,000
jobs and makes an overall contribution to UK GDP of almost £7 billion
The joint agreement was signed in Washington and marks the successful
conclusion of several recent meetings on potential lunar and planetary
The document was signed by Dr. Griffin on behalf of NASA and Sir Keith
O'Nions, Director General of Science and Innovation at the Department
of Trade and Industry, on behalf of the UK. The Chief Executive of the
Science and Technology Facilities Council, Professor Keith Mason, and
the Director General of the British National Space Centre, Dr. David
Williams were also present at the signing.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council has already completed a
feasibility study of two robotic mission options to the surface of the
Moon focused on exploiting the UK's leadership in small satellites and
miniaturised science instruments. MoonRaker, a small propulsive Lander
to provide in-situ geological dating, and MoonLITE equipped with
missile-shaped penetrators carrying seismometers to investigate the
lunar interior and a telecommunications capability to demonstrate high
data rate telecoms at the Moon.
These mission options exemplify the UK's expertise in small
satellites, robotics and miniaturised instruments. In addition,
MoonLITE's telecoms capability could provide a vital contribution to
NASA's ambition of establishing a sustained Moon outpost by 2020.
The British National Space Centre (BNSC) is a partnership of nine
Government Departments and research councils which is at the heart of
UK efforts to explore and exploit space. BNSC co-ordinates UK civil
space policy to benefit science, enterprise and the environment.
Further information is available at: www.bnsc.gov.uk