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No immediate plan to include China in Int'l Space Station: US

As the NASA plans to extend the life of International Space Station from 2015 to 2010, the United States today dismissed as "premature" about any collaboration with China on the space station.

world Updated: Jun 29, 2010 12:16 IST

As the NASA plans to extend the life of International Space Station from 2015 to 2010, the United States today dismissed as "premature" about any collaboration with China on the space station.

"The International Space Station has been a real beacon of international partnership going forward, and a true success. I think it's a little premature to talk about China and the space station," said Jim Kohlenberger, chief of staff of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Kohlenberger said that the cooperation with China on International Space Station is a very complex policy issue.

"But there's no imminent plans to include China at this point, or obviously we'd have to discuss it with our international partners," he said in response to a question.

"But fundamentally one of the things that this does underscore in the NASA section of this plan is our ability to extend the International Space Station beyond 2015 to 2020, which is a key element of our strategy to encourage international cooperation," he said.

Barry Pavel, the National Security Council Senior Director for Defence Policy and Strategy, said the New Space Policy announced by US President Barack Obama has a lot of emphasis on international co-operation.

"There's a heavy emphasis on strengthening stability in space and doing this through transparency and confidence-building measures. So bringing enhanced stability to space is a goal. We're trying to encourage responsible action, so the policy directs the pursuit of a number of bilateral and multilateral transparency and confidence-building measures, which the State Department will be specifying in coming weeks," he said.

"It doesn't direct arms-control proposals, but it allows for our consideration of arms-control proposals. And we can certainly talk about that in more detail. It also directs data and capability sharing. This is explicitly required to enable safer and more responsible activity in space. It talks to the need to share data not just within the US government, but with industry and with foreign nations in an appropriate fashion," Pavel said.

This policy seeks to minimise the creation of new debris and also to research options for removing debris, he said, adding that international cooperation would be a very important foundation for this aspect of the policy.

"It also establishes a requirement to develop data sources and measures for space collision warning. This will also require the international community to provide data so we have a much more robust picture of what we need to see and be aware of in space," he said.

When asked the American plan to go to an asteroid or Mars would have international collaboration, Kohlenberger said Obama has laid out a bold and ambitious programme for space going forward that will take the US beyond the Earth-Moon cradle and eventually get to orbiting Mars.