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Woerner: Cooperation should reign as spacefaring nations clean up Earth orbit and venture beyond ISS

Woerner: Cooperation should reign as spacefaring nations clean up Earth orbit and venture beyond ISS

A Moon Village could be beacon of international and even commercial cooperation. Credit: ESA artist's concept of a lunar outpost
A Moon Village could be beacon of international and even commercial cooperation. Credit: ESA artist's concept of a lunar outpost

BREMEN, Germany — European Space Agency Director-General Jan Woerner on Oct. 24 said cooperation should trump competition as the world’s spacefaring nations set out to clean up Earth’s orbit while establishing an international human presence at the moon and beyond.

Speaking at Space Tech Expo Europe here, Woerner expanded on his idea of a “united space in Europe” — a vision he says must for now replace the dream of a “united states of Europe” shared after the launch of Europe’s Sentinel-2B Earth-observation satellite in March.

As the world’s leading space agencies begin to plot their next steps now that the International Space Station wraps up its sixth year of post-assembly operations, Woerner said more global space endeavors should be opened to India and China, among others.

From Woerner’s own Moon Village concept to NASA’s proposed Deep Space Gateway, lunar orbit looms large as global space players discuss next destinations for human spaceflight. If Woerner gets his way, the next steps for humanity’s journey won’t become another space race.

“I would like to see enough natural intelligence to have a different scheme for cooperation then just competition,” Woerner said during a panel discussion on that included officials from NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency.

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November 7, 2017


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