European Space Agency (ESA) chief Johann-Dietrich Woerner has said that the International Space Station (ISA) should be opened to India and China in an interview with the German news magazine Spiegel.
“We need to get away from the principle of being a closed club,” Woerner said.
The $100 billion space station is backed by 15 countries, including the United States, Russia, and Germany. It costs NASA $3 billion a year to run the station.
The station has funds until 2020 and an extension for four years is under discussion.
The ISS will provide an unprecedented opportunity for private companies and researchers to benefit from investment in the station, if it is extended beyond 2020.
Woerner also commented on Europe’s dependency on Russia to transport their astronauts to the station.
“I don’t give commitment that we Europeans will manage our own take-off into orbit,” he said.