International cooperation with the USA
Partnership and cooperation with the USA, as one of the EU's strategic space partners, is a priority for Europe. In March 2006, as part of the development of the EU-US transatlantic relationship, a dialogue on civil space cooperation was launched.
At the EU-U.S. Summit of June 2005 it was agreed that the European Union and the United States would initiate a “dialogue on civil space cooperation”. This dialogue would, inter alia, promote cooperation in space applications in key areas such as earth observation, satellite navigation, space science and exploration. The first EU-U.S. meeting of this dialogue took place in March 2006.
More recently discussion has also extended to cooperation in space situational awareness i.e. protection of critical space infrastructure through tracking of space debris and monitoring of space weather. Chaired by representatives of the European Commission and the U.S. Department of State, these dialogues bring together the key Government departments and agencies active in the space domain. These include the European Space Agency and EUMESTSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) on the European side and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration) and USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) on the U.S. side. Four working groups and an annual plenary meeting have been set up on satellite navigation to address in particular radio frequency compatibility and interoperability, trade and civil applications, cooperation on the next generation of civil satellite-based navigation and timing systems, security issues relating to GPS and GALILEO.
In April 2010 a meeting of the EU-U.S. dialogue took place in Washington. Areas discussed include: EU-U.S. cooperation in Earth observation (EO) both bilaterally and through international organizations; the need to promote full and open exchange of civil EO data and geospatial information; possible expansion of existing ESA and NASA cooperation in space exploration and space science. At the April 2010 space dialogue, it was agreed to organize an EU - U.S. workshop to identify areas for EU and U.S. cooperation in the use of space infrastructure and applications to combat climate change. This meeting will take place in spring 2011. It is anticipated that a subsequent meeting of the space dialogue will identify the priority areas addressed at the workshop and endorse a roadmap for their implementation. For satellite navigation systems, U.S.-E.U. cooperation is based on the Agreement signed on 26 June 2004 between the Government of the United States of America and the European Community on the promotion, provision and use of Galileo and GPS satellite-based navigation systems and related applications . Since 2006, meetings of high level EU and U.S. space officials have taken place at least once per year to review and prioritise actual and potential areas of cooperation between the EU and the United States in all areas of civil space cooperation.
In 2008 the first US-EU Plenary Meeting on satellite navigation took place in Washington. The next meeting is expected in Europe early 2011. In July 2010, a Working Group meeting allowed the conclusion of an initial phase of consultations between the EU and US affirming user interoperability and enhanced performance of combined GPS and Galileo receivers. The result of these consultations is the public release of two papers (Combined Performances for SBAS Receivers Using WAAS and EGNOS ; and Combined Performances for Open GPS/Galileo Receivers )
The EU Seventh Framework Programme on Research and Development ("FP7") has encouraged significant U.S. participation in European space research projects. In the third FP7 space call published in July 2009 U.S. participation increased with respect to previous calls. In total there were 20 U.S. participants in 15 proposals. Participants in these projects include Federal Agencies, namely NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab (CalTech), NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center, Los Alamos Nat. Lab. and several leading U.S. universities. Two topics in the "Space Foundations" domain have particularly attracted U.S. participation: security of space assets from space weather events and security of space assets from in-orbits collisions.