ESA Chief to Propose that China, South Korea and India Join ISS Program

International Space Station
International Space Station

Space News has some interesting ISS news from Europe:

The head of the 18-nation European Space Agency (ESA) on Feb. 2 roundly endorsed the new direction U.S. President Barack Obama proposed for NASA, saying a firmer U.S. commitment to the international space station and space-based Earth science would further tighten trans-Atlantic cooperation.

In an interview, ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain also said his agency was ready to propose to NASA and the other space station partners — Russia, Japan and Canada — that China, India and South Korea be invited to join the station partnership.

“These three nations have been active in the multilateral discussion of future space exploration architecture,” Dordain said. “It seems that these three would be a good place to start widening the partnership. But this needs to be a collective decision by all the current partners.”

Dordain and other European government officials have long urged that the space station’s service life be extended at least to 2020, with a final retirement date decided only when it becomes clear that the orbital outpost is no longer worth the annual investment in operations and maintenance.

Read the full story.