Nerys Ghemor wrote:
What about the European Space Agency, or Japan's space program? Would either of those have craft capable of reaching the ISS? If not, what's the expected timetable for them to have such technology?
I feel both might need at least 5 years of funding, research and testing. Japan had a nice looking spaceplane but they binned it and don't seem to be motivated on developing a new one. I imagine the European's could do it quicker than 5 because they have more people, new unmanned supply ships and their space program has been on a roll lately challenging NASA dominance with the robot Rosetta, Ariane launches etc
Here's some food for thought
(has been trashed due to low funding and the Japanese prototype crashing in Sweden)
(The ATV currently in orbit with the ISS has life support for astronauts but this is UNMANNED)
If NASA were smart it would have continued funding projects like the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle but politicians have been slowly chipping away at NASA's budget ever since Apollo was over.
I've read this years budget report for NASA and its not good space telescopes like TPF have been cut while the new spacecraft replacement won't fly until 2014, so considering potential delays I take that as 2015. The Bush vision for exploration and landing American people on Mars has been postponed to 2037 according to a statement Administrator Griffin made while traveling. The only real hope is for the next President McCain or Obama to seriously back exploration while fixing the current problems with the USA economy. If things do not turn around in the next few years I seriously expect NASA to be slowly outsourced to India
Say goodbye to Huston
New Delhi we have a problem