category.) Space and Earth science programs conducted from space are the foremost examples of the third motivation, and meteorological satellites are an excellent example of the fourth.

From the perspective of international cooperation, it is important to note that there tends to be less difficulty when the motivations of the cooperating partners are the same, or at least known to each other and compatible. An in-depth assessment of the basic motivations for cooperation and agreement on objectives, share of responsibilities, schedule, and financial framework is a precondition to the success of any cooperative effort, particularly any large-scale one. Such an assessment allows for effective, realistic negotiations before the program begins, although this may not suffice, as discussed in detail in Chapter 3.

Among the reasons for international cooperation in the space sciences are the following:

  • Improved scientific results from the sharing of experience, resources, data, and knowledge;
  • Enhanced and diversified opportunities for space research;
  • Reduction of costs for each participant through cost sharing. Cost sharing has generally included in-kind payments such as payload launches, instruments or facilities, operations support, tracking, and data collection and dissemination;
  • Enhanced chances of obtaining program or project approval and seeing it through to a successful conclusion;
  • Provision of access to unique capabilities, facilities, or locations;
  • Stimulation of technology development;
  • Access to new technologies; and
  • Improved international relations.

As a result of these incentives, space science has enjoyed a particularly long history of cooperation. Indeed, the entire space science program began as a cooperative effort with the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year. This report furthers the interest in cooperation by deriving lessons learned as to why some U.S.-European cooperative efforts have been more successful than others. From these lessons learned, the committee hopes to improve international cooperation in the future and to enable better use of the available funds for space research. The heart of the report is a set of case studies of cooperative space science missions conducted in a “bottom-up" manner with the collaboration of European and U.S. officials who were actively engaged in carrying them out. The case studies are divided into three areas: classic space science,2 Earth science conducted from space, and microgravity research and life sciences (MRLS; see Box 1.1). This allowed the committee to compare the similarities and differences among these studies in terms of boundary conditions, substance, and procedure. The unique aspects of each of these three areas are significant and warrant individual investigation.

Scope And Study Criteria

It is recognized that cooperation in space research occurs worldwide, with notable contributions from many countries. From this broad view, U.S.-European cooperation is a subset (albeit an important one) of the whole. This study focuses on the United States and Europe because of the long history of cooperation between the two. They present a complex history of variables to analyze and understand (particularly when programs with individual European countries are included) and can provide lessons for the wider community as well. Further study of the more far-reaching aspects of cooperation that are not included here, as well as experiences acquired through cooperation with such space-faring partners as Japan and Russia, may be undertaken in the future.

Technically, cooperation means combining the efforts of two or more countries in an integrated project (large or small) to reach a common set of objectives; coordination means linking two or more relatively independent projects to enhance their scientific return; and collaboration means joining the efforts of two or more scientists or other individuals to achieve a common set of objectives. For the purposes of this report, however, cooperation is used as a generic term denoting international participation in a project.


Classic space science includes space physics, astrophysics, astronomy, and sloar system research.

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