During the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) last October in Jerusalem, there has been a little-noticed comment attributed to ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner as saying he wants China to give up its own space station in favor of joining the ISS. “I told China, we don’t need two space stations. How about ISS with China participation? Not sure how they’ll react.”
Prof. Wörner’s idea is indeed in the interests of humankind and is based in good intention. Undoubtedly a single station built by all spacefaring countries perfectly represents peace, harmony, and unification of the world and reflects on a long-held dream of humanity. However, there is a large gap between reality and that ideal.