labels: Indian Space Research Organisation, News reports
China, India, Korea should partner ISS programme: ESA chief news
07 July 2009

With the life of the International Space Station being extended to 2020 it is likely that station partners the EU, the USA, Russia, Canada and Japan may now seek association of other space-faring nations, such as India, China and Korea, according to European Space Agency (ESA) director general, Jean-Jacques Dordain, who touched upon this issue in his interactions during the first public meeting of NASA's Review of US Human Spaceflight Plans Committee sometime last month.

The Review Committee is set to address the issue this month (21-23 July).

The ESA DG said there was a need to start discussing which nation will provide what resources beyond 2015. This was the notional date for the end of the ISS programme as originally agreed upon in the late 1990s.

With China's space facilities already tried and tested, including successful manned missions, and India set to launch its own manned mission sometime in 2015 these two countries could prove crucial for the ISS's logistics support programme.

South Korea is set to become another space-faring nation with its Korea Space Launch Vehicle, being constructed with the help of Russia's Khrunichev Space Center. The first launch is due sometime later this month.

India already has a tried and tested space programme, with firms and countries trusting it to launch satellites that require pin-point accuracy in orbit placement. This was evident in the Israeli decision to launch its TecSAR reconnaissance satellite with the help of an ISRO rocket and launch facilities.

The ESA director has said that "the question of these countries" involvement in the ISS programme must be raised soon. Not to raise the question of the involvement of these countries, in Dordain's opinion, could be "the very worst thing we could do."

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China, India, Korea should partner ISS programme: ESA chief