"This agreement marks a significant advance for international cooperation in the exploration and peaceful use of outer space. It is one of the most important landmarks in scientific collaboration since ESA and the People's Republic of China first agreed to exchange scientific information more than 20 years ago." said ESA Director General, Antonio Rodotà at the Double Star ceremony in Paris on 9 July 2001.
"The Double Star programme will be just the first step in substantial cooperation between the Chinese National Space Administration and ESA. The signing of today's agreement paves the way not only for reciprocal cooperation between scientists, but for the establishment of comprehensive cooperation between the two agencies." said Luan Enjie, Administrator of the Chinese National Space Administration, at the Double Star ceremony in Paris on 9 July 2001.
China and ESA have a long history of scientific collaboration. The first cooperation agreement between ESA and the National Commission for Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China was signed on 11 July 1980. Its purpose was to facilitate the exchange of scientific information.
A joint cooperation agreement concerning Cluster, involving ESA and the Centre for Space Science and Applied Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was signed on 25 November 1993. As a result, a number of Chinese scientists became co-investigators on the Cluster mission and the Chinese Cluster Data and Research Centre was established in Beijing, China.
In 1997, the Chinese National Space Administration proposed to ESA that European scientists involved in Cluster should take part in the proposed Double Star mission. This led to discussions in Paris on 27 March 2000 between the CNSA Administrator and the ESA Director General.
ESA Project Scientist for the Double Star mission:
ESA Project Manager for the Double Star mission: