Summary of the 3rd Meeting (Steering committee only) of the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group,  5-6 February 2015

The First Meeting of the Steering Committee of the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) took place in Vienna, Austria, at the Vienna International Centre, on 5-6 February 2015, supported by the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, on the margins of the 52nd session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

Participants were delegates from the European Space Agency, France, Germany, IAWN, Italy, Israel, Japan, Romania, Pakistan, United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, observers participated from Austria, Canada, India, Oman and the Action Team on Near-Earth Objects (AT-14).

The application from the Israel Space Agency for participation in SMPAG was formally accepted.

ESA, as Chair of SMPAG, and NASA, as Chair of IAWN, gave a joint presentation on the current status of both entities. Mr. Sergio Camacho, Chair of the Action Team on near-Earth objects (AT-14), presented a brief status report of the Action Team. The Chair formally thanked Mr. Camacho, and previous AT-14 Chairs, for their work.

The Steering Committee agreed that SMPAG should seek official permanent observer status with the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The meeting considered the SMPAG Terms of Reference and agreed on a first official reference version 1.0, dated 5 February 2015.

Discussions were held on the criteria to be used for participation in SMPAG Steering Committee and plenary meetings. As to the status of observers, it was agreed that they may be invited to meetings pending their prior application and acceptance by the meeting Chair.

Delegations agreed to formally invite the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to attend SMPAG meetings as observer.

A plan for future meetings was discussed. Participants agreed that the Steering Committee should meet twice per year. A Steering Committee meeting should preferably take place in connection with the annual plenary SMPAG meeting. Participants agreed that a summary of each meeting should be made publicly available.

The general structure of the workplan was discussed. It was agreed that it should be a self-contained document to be updated at least once per year. A configuration control shall be applied.  The workplan shall include completed, ongoing and planned activities. For each individual work issue, a rationale shall be provided. The description for each activity should be typically two to three pages in length. The titles of work issues should be short. For completed activities an executive summary shall be included. The schedule of individual work issues shall be included as part of the work description. Available reports shall be listed in an appendix.  Task leaders should report at least once per year on progress.

The meeting participants recognized that in addition to issues addressed by SMPAG for a real planetary defense campaign, other issues like legal responsibility, decision-making process and financing will have to be addressed which are outside the scope of SMPAG.

The next full SMPAG meeting will take place 09-10 April 2015 in ESRIN, Frascati, Italy, just preceding the IAA Planetary Defense Conference (PDC) 2015.