RPT - ESA Chief Hopes Int'l Cooperation On Space Station To Continue Amid Plans Of Russia, China

RPT - ESA Chief Hopes Int'l Cooperation on Space Station to Continue Amid Plans of Russia, China

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 03rd February, 2021) The European Space Agency (ESA) hopes that the international cooperation on a space station will continue despite the plans of Russia and China to build their own orbital stations, outgoing ESA Director General Jan Woerner told Sputnik in an interview.

As the International Space Station (ISS) is likely to face system break downs after 2025 and they will cost a lot to repair, Russia may prefer to focus on a national station, the Energia company, which manages the Russian module of the ISS, said in November. At the same time, China will reportedly start the construction of its own Low Earth orbit station this year.

"So far we have been discussing with Russia the question of how long can we use the International Space Station, this is very important and then the next thing is [the US-led Lunar] Gateway, where I hope that the gateway will be an open gateway for many states, not only for the few. I don't think we need too many space stations, China is also building its own station.

Space should always be about cooperation and not about competition in that field," Woerner said.

As the construction of a space station is very costly, the global community should work together, the executive noted, citing the ESA as an example of a national space agency that cooperates with many countries despite some political differences.

"I think we should really join forces and not go into too many different programs, so there is so far no concrete discussion about participation for another Russian space station," Woerner added.

The international space cooperation may serve as "a bridge over troubled water of political discussions," the ESA chief underlined.

Roscosmos and NASA began negotiations on cooperation in the construction of a lunar orbital outpost, called Gateway. However, talks eventually fell through, as the Russian side felt it was not treated as an equal partner but an auxiliary, insisting on parity like with the ISS.