Officials from the member states of the International Project of Construction and Exploitation of the International Space Station are meeting in Tokyo on December 5 to discuss the question of whether the ISS will be ready to be piloted in the near future. The matter is, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is considering the possibility of laying up the station by the middle of the next year because of Russia's underfunding of its part of the project.
In all, the project unites 16 countries, each country represented by its national and international space agencies.
The work on the ISS began in 1993. By that time, Russia had more than 25 years of experience in running the orbital stations Salyut and Mir and possessed unique information about lengthy flights /up to 438 days of continuous presence of man on the orbit/, as well as various space systems /the orbital station Mir, manned and cargo vehicles of the Soyuz and Progress types/, and a well-developed infrastructure to secure the flight.