The US Department of Defense (DoD) and Nasa have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that broadens their collaboration in space.

This new agreement builds on the existing relationship between the two parties and will cover areas such as human spaceflight, US space policy and space transportation, scientific research and planetary defence and more.

Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine and US Space Force (USSF) Space Operations chief general John Raymond announced the agreement at a Mitchell Institute virtual event.

Bridenstine said: “Nasa’s partnerships are vital to ensuring America continues to lead the world in the peaceful uses of outer space.

“This agreement with the US Space Force reaffirms and continues our rich legacy of collaboration with the Defense Department and provides a critical foundation to investigate areas of mutual interest for our distinct civil and defence roles in space.”

The new MoU replaces the agreement signed by the US Air Force Space Command and Nasa 14 years ago.

Under the first agreement, the two sides traded research and development information, worked to decrease system development duplication, and partnered in the long-term planning of space roadmaps.

Raymond added: “Nasa and the military share a long history dating back to the late 1950s; there is power in our partnership.

“A secure, stable, and accessible space domain underpins our nation’s security, prosperity and scientific achievement. Space Force looks forward to future collaboration, as Nasa pushes farther into the universe for the benefit of all.”

The Space Force will safeguard space assets such as GPS, weather and communications satellites, as well as the International Space Station.

Nasa and the USSF share research and development, space industrial base and science and technology that help both organisations.