NASA and ESA agree on new era of cooperation

WASHINGTON — NASA and the European Space Agency have agreed to cooperate on future Earth science missions and related activities in an effort to better understand climate change.

The leaders of the two agencies signed a joint statement of intent in a virtual meeting July 13, declaring their plans to cooperate on Earth science research, particularly involving climate change, ranging from missions to research and applications.

“Climate change is an all-hands-on deck, global challenge that requires action now,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement about the agreement. “This agreement will set the standard for future international collaboration, providing the information that is so essential for tackling the challenges posed by climate change and helping to answer and address the most pressing questions in Earth science for the benefit of the United States, Europe, and the world.”

NASA and ESA already cooperate on Earth science research. An example is Sentinel-6, a program to fly two satellites to continue a three-decade record of sea level measurements. That program includes NASA and ESA, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States and the European Commission, Eumetsat and the French space agency CNES in Europe. NASA launched the first European-built Sentinel-6 satellite in November 2020.

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