In Summary
  • NASA is open to the idea of international participation in voyage to the moon
  • The building of the ISS in the late 1990s and 2000s appeared to usher in a new era of space cooperation between the US and Russia
  • Japan also wants to take advantage of the new US program to write a new chapter in its own history.

As it looks to return to the Moon, NASA is open to the idea of international participation, which could mean a non-American setting foot on Earth's natural satellite for the first time in history, global space chiefs said Monday.

"I think there's lots of room on the Moon, and we need all our international partners to go with us to the Moon," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held in Washington.

"If we can come to agreements on the contributions of all the nations and how they're going to be a part of the architecture, then certainly I would, I would see that there'd be no reason we can't have all of our international partners with us on the Moon," he added.

The Americans are developing a spacecraft (Orion) and a mini space station (Gateway) that will remain in lunar orbit, which will in theory be used for a first crewed mission in 2024, Artemis 3.


Only one element of the mission will be produced outside the US: the Orion service module that will supply it with electricity, propulsion, thermal control, air and water in space and is being delivered by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Only once the Gateway is expanded will non-Americans be able to make the journey too.

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