TABLE ES.1 Missions Used as Case Studies in This Report, Selected by Discipline


NASA-ESA Case Studies

NASA-European National Space Agencies Case Studies




Planetary sciences

Cassini-Huygens, GMM

Space physics

ISPM [Ulysses], ISEE


Earth sciences

EOS-Polar platforms


Microgravity research and life sciences

IML-1, 2

IML-1, 2

NOTE: AMPTE = Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorer; EOS = Earth Observing System; GMM = Generic Mars Mission; HST = Hubble Space Telescope; IML = International Microgravity Laboratory; INTEGRAL = International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory; ISEE = International Sun-Earth Explorer; ISPM = International Solar Polar Mission [renamed Ulysses]; ROSAT = Roentgen Satellite; TOPEX = (Ocean) Topography Experiment; UARS = Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.

a The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is used by both astrophysicists and space physicists. Its mission addresses both disciplines. For the purposes of this study, SOHO was analyzed as an astrophysics mission.

Each mission was briefly characterized, with special emphasis on the particular problems and benefits posed by its international makeup. The joint committee analyzed the history leading up to the mission, the nature of the cooperation, and the benefits or failures that accrued from conducting the cooperation. The following questions helped guide the joint committee's survey of the missions:

  1. What were the scope and nature of the agreement? How did the agreement evolve, and how was it finalized? How long did it take to plan the mission?

  2. How was the cooperation initiated (e.g., by scientist-to-scientist or agency-to-agency contact)? What was the role of each partner and agency? Were the motivations the same for all partners?

  3. What were the expected benefits each partner offered?

  4. What were the extent and practical mechanisms of cooperation? At what level, if any, did hardware integration of multinational components take place? How were communications maintained? Was the project structured to minimize friction between international partners?

  5. What was the net impact of internationalization on the mission in terms of costs, schedule, and science output?

  6. What external influences affected the mission during its life cycle? What were their effects? Were problems caused by different internal priorities or by external (e.g., political, financial) boundary conditions (such as budget cycles)?

  7. Were there issues of competition versus cooperation? Did the desire to protect technological leadership create problems?

  8. What benefits did the cooperation actually produce?

  9. Which agreements succeeded and which did not, in both scientific and programmatic terms?

The questions are not formally asked and answered for each mission case study but serve instead as guideposts. In the end, the joint committee sought to know and present the lessons learned and how they can be applied in the future.


The joint committee, having surveyed and analyzed the 13 U.S.-European cases discussed in Chapter 3, identified several conditions that either facilitated or hampered bilateral or multilateral cooperation in space science. Some of these conditions are unique to their scientific disciplines and their “cultures,” whereas others are

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