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The International Space Station  (Source: NASA)

Representatives of 15 of the 16 nations participating on the ISS  (Source: NASA)
Space cooperation among nations causes interesting situations

DailyTech recently published a news story in which China said it is still willing to work with the United States on future missions, especially on the International Space Station (ISS).  Are the other space nations welcoming China?

The Chinese space program, even if some critics want to turn a blind eye, happens to be a growing space power that the United States and rest of the world are now closely watching.  Much of the space research being done in China continues to grab headlines, with the country successfully completing several major projects.   

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin went to China last year to discuss a possible bilateral space agreement between the two nations, but nothing significant happened.  

Since it is more likely that China will reach the moon again before the United States - something NASA is willing to admit - the United States is still not ready to assist Chinese space endeavors.  Aside from the communist government that the United States regularly bumps heads with, the country's satellite destruction methods via a land-based missile also displeased the U.S. government.  

The United States is currently working with more than a dozen different nations aboard the ISS, along with several other nations that are likely to increase their role in the project in the next several years.  Even though China once again showed interest in working alongside the rest of the world - this time on the ISS - the United States isn't interested.  

What is the status of space cooperation among other large space programs?

"International collaboration is very important for JAXA," a JAXA spokesperson told DailyTech.  "Some examples of the collaborative activities are participation in the International Space Station Project and the Global Space Exploration Strategy Workshop for Moon probing."

JAXA also cited the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) and data acquired by the "Daichi" Advanced Land Observing Satellite under the "Space and Major Disasters" international charter.  The APRSAF is made up of Japan, Mongolia, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and Indonesia, and has conducted more than 14 meetings in the Asia-Pacific region.

The European Space Agency is helping to make sure its partnerships with NASA, Russia and JAXA continue to get stronger at a time when space ambitions continue to grow.

"Space cooperation is an important element in overall European-Russia cooperation. This meeting has proved very useful as concrete work plans have been established," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General.  "The cooperation between Europe and Russia in the area of launchers should serve as a model for cooperation in other areas such as exploration, space science and space applications."

I don't expect JAXA or the ESA to try and convince the United States to let China have more of a helping hand in space research.

NASA continues to work with a number of partners while the U.S. space agency desperately tries to finish construction of the ISS before the current generation of space shuttle is retired.  If you doubt why space cooperation is important for NASA, keep in mind that NASA will likely rely on Russian spacecraft to get astronauts into space once the shuttle is retired in 2010.  NASA also is ready to continue strengthening ties with the India Space Research Organization, the growing Indian space program.

Even though I would like to see the nasty game of politics leave space research, politics obviously has deep roots in space exploration - dating back more than 50 years.

NASA and ESA representatives did not immediately return e-mails sent regarding space cooperation.





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