The future of exploration – from low Earth orbit to deep space – was reviewed during a high-level panel discussion moderated in Washington, D.C. by Clay Mowry, President of the Arianespace, Inc. U.S. subsidiary.
The roundtable was part of the Heads of Agencies Summit on Exploration, organized by the International Academy of Astronautics, which brought together the leaders of 28 space agencies from around the world – with a focus on the importance of international cooperation in space exploration activities.
Mowry’s panel covered both human and robotic exploration, highlighting examples of programs that include current work aboard the International Space Station (ISS), China’s on-going Jade Rabbit lunar rover adventure, Rosetta’s pursuit of the 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comet, along with such future missions as ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars), and the Euclid project to map the dark universe.
Arianespace is supporting many of these major efforts, including providing launch services for all of the Automated Transfer Vehicles that have serviced the ISS, and – in the future – orbiting the NASA James Webb Space Telescope.
Mowry also noted that an important exploration milestone was today’s “wakeup” of Rosetta. Launched in 2004 by an Arianespace Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle, this spacecraft had hibernated in deep space for the past 957 days in preparation for its planned comet rendezvous in August.
Participating in the Heads of Agencies Summit panel were NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr.; Jean-Yves Le Gall, head of the French CNES space agency; Dr. Seung Jo Kim, President of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute; Dr. Marius-Ioan Piso, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Romanian Space Agency; Brazilian Space Agency President Prof. Jose Raimundo Braga Coelho; Dr. Shri A S Kiran Kumar, Director of the Space Applications Center at the Indian Space Research Organization; Xu Dazhe, Administrator of the China National Space Administration; and Luis Valero Artola, General Secretary of Industry and Small and Medium Enterprises at Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism.