NASA PRESS RELEASE
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver returned June 15 from a week-long, three-city trip to Europe that included addressing the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and signing a cooperative agreement to extend the mission of an Earth science satellite.
Garverâ€™s visit also included discussions with key European space agency heads and senior-level officials in the German and French governments. The focus of her travel was to explain the administrationâ€™s new plans for space exploration and make clear that expanded international collaboration will be a cornerstone of NASAâ€™s future activities.
â€œNASA has a long history of international cooperation,â€ Garver said. â€œIndeed, international cooperation was envisioned as a key element in the U.S. legislation that formally established NASA. We intend to broaden and deepen those relationships as we seek to implement the presidentâ€™s new U.S. space exploration enterprise.â€
In Germany, Garver visited the Reichstag in Berlin to meet with key members of the Air and Space Group of the Bundestag, which is the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany. Garver also had an opportunity to review NASAâ€™s ongoing and planned cooperation with Germany with the U.S. ambassador there, Phillip Murphy.
At the Berlin Air Show, Garver and German Aerospace Center (DLR) Executive Board Chairman Johann-Dietrich WÃ¶rner signed an agreement June 10 to extend the Gravity Recovery and Climate Change (GRACE) mission through the end of its on-orbit life, which is expected in 2015.
GRACE tracks changes in Earthâ€™s gravity field by noting small variations in gravitational pull from local changes in Earthâ€™s mass. Data from the GRACE mission have been used for such diverse purposes as measuring the amount of water lost in recent years from the aquifers for California’s primary agricultural region and recording losses from Greenland’s ice sheet.
NASA and DLR signed the original agreement in 1998. The two agencies jointly developed the GRACE mission and have cooperated on operations since the spacecraftâ€™s launch in March 2002.
In Paris, Garver met with several representatives from the French presidentâ€™s office who had an interest in science and technology activities. She also had meetings with the director general of the European Space Agency and president of the French space agency to discuss NASAâ€™s future plans and opportunities for potential future cooperation.
After the meetings in Berlin and Paris, Garver traveled to Vienna, Austria, where she addressed the 53rd session of the United Nationsâ€™ Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space on June 14. She explained NASAâ€™s new plans to the gathering of international representatives.
â€œPresident Obama has laid out a bold new path for NASA to become an engine of innovation, with ambitious new programs that I believe will inspire people from around the world,â€ Garver said. â€œUnder the presidentâ€™s direction, the United States will pursue a more meaningful and sustainable approach to human space exploration through the development of transformative technologies and systems.â€
Garverâ€™s trip also included meetings with officials from the National Space Agency of Ukraine.
â€œNASAâ€™s level of international cooperation is increasing each year,â€ said Al Condes, deputy associate administrator of NASAâ€™s Office of International and Interagency Relations, who accompanied Garver on the trip. â€œThe deputy administratorâ€™s travel to Europe provided an excellent opportunity to meet with our key partners to discuss NASAâ€™s future plans and reaffirm our strong commitment to working collaboratively on a wide variety of programs.â€