bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Feature Article
by Nicolas Peter
The US and Europe have been cooperating with success in space activities for almost forty years. Yet the US budget request for fiscal year 2007 may pose significant challenges to this historic partnership, as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) might cancel or unilaterally postpone numerous missions developed in international cooperation. Furthermore, following the accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003, and the subsequent complete reassessment of US national space policy, space exploration has recently become the important focal point of NASA's plans. This poses a challenge to all other space-faring countries in the world, and Europe in particular, that have made the International Space Station (ISS) utilization the centerpiece of their planning for the next decade and more; but it may also provide a new impetus to the trans-Atlantic space relations and raise the relationship from a program-to-program cooperative approach to a broader policy level that will be more stable in the long run.
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