Could China be the next partner nation to join the International Space Station? Current discussions in Quebec City at the ISS HOA (Heads Of Agencies) may suggest just that. All five participating agencies: Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan, and the ESA, have all committed to supporting the ISS until 2020. Yet these five agencies acknowledge there is somewhat of an open invitation for other countries to join.
Yesterday Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian Space agency, acknowledged "we are not a closed club, our doors are wide open." Popovkin went on to suggest that one day countries lik China and India would join the ISS team.
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."
NASA chief administrator Charles Bolden confirmed that the five partner agencies are "reaching out" to other non-traditional nations.
While the talks in Quebec are focussing on plans for the ISS up to the 2020 comittment date, Bolden did acknowledge that the sation itself should be viable until at least 2028.
These details were reported in an article published by the Canadian Press. The full Canadian Press story has been attached below.