Thursday, September 12, 2013

Spotlight: International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG)

Mars Daily recently reported that a consrotium of space agencies released a blueprint for future space exploration with the goal of sending humans deeper into space. The consortium of agencies is known as the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG). The ISECG was established as a result of a document entitled The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination. A finding of the document is:
     "the need to establish a voluntary, non-binding international coordination mechanism through which individual agencies may exchange information regarding their interests, plans and activities in space exploration, and to work together on means of strengthening both individual exploration programs as well as the collective effort."

Since November 2007 the following fourteen (14) Space Agencies have participated and contributed to the ISECG:
     ASI (Italy), BNSC (United Kingdom), CNES (France), CNSA (China), CSA (Canada), CSIRO(Australia), DLR (Germany), ESA (European Space Agency), ISRO (India), JAXA (Japan), KARI(Republic of Korea), NASA (United States of America), NSAU (Ukraine), Roscosmos (Russia).

In 2011 the ISECG established a Global Roadmap for a long range exploration strategy that charts a way to expand human presence in the solar system. The Roadmap begins with the International Space Station (ISS) and has an overall goal of human missions to Mars. The report which was updated in August 2013 can be downloaded from the ISECG website

According to the Mars Daily article the ISECG stated, "Human exploration of the moon, asteroids and Mars will strengthen humanity's future, bringing nations together in a common cause, revealing new knowledge, inspiring people, and stimulating innovation."

It is welcoming to note that the above quote and mission of the ISECG are in harmony with the Article I of the Outer Space Treaty:
"The exploration and use of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.

Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

There shall be freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and States shall facilitate and encourage international cooperation in such investigation."

As long as organizations and agencies work within the heart of the International Treaties while communicating and sharing findings it will be fantastic to watch how space exploration rapidly develops over the next couple of decades.