Will China, India Join International Space Station Partnership?

Support for bringing China, India and other nations into the International Space Station partnership appears to be growing following a meeting of the five families space agency heads in Canada last week:

“We are not a closed club, our doors are wide open,” Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian Space agency, said after a meeting Thursday of the leaders of the organizations involved in the station.

Popovkin ventured that the day will come when China and India will work together with the five ISS partners — Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, head of the European body, said he hopes the International Space Station partnership would be open, adding it would benefit from co-operation with China.

“I am in favour of seeing how we can work together with China,” he told reporters after the meeting in Quebec City. “It will take some steps, but it will come, I am sure. This is not a closed partnership, it is an open partnership and anyone who can help support this partnership is more than welcome.”

NASA administrator Charles Bolden pointed out that the five partners are reaching out to other non-traditional nations.

“We have encouraged each other to go out and try to find people who would not have an opportunity to enjoy this incredible facility that we have and bring them in as best we can,” he said.

Bolden has told The Canadian Press that NASA is an organization that looks at international co-operation, but it’s prohibited by Congressional action from any bilateral activities with China.

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