WASH NGTON -- Senior officials from 15 countries signed agreements Thursday formalizing cooperation for the planned construction a permanent international space station, beginning two years from now.
"We will change the course of human history," NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin told a State Department gathering that included Sen. John Glenn, a space pioneer.
He said the project entails nothing less than a "city in space." It is the largest international civil science and technology project ever undertaken.
Goldin's Russian counterpart, Yuri Koptev, said the cooperative venture means an end to the era of rivalry and "senseless competition" in the space field. Speaking in Russian, he pledged that his nation will be a "great and reliable partner" in the project.
Also addressing the session was Russian Ambassador Yuli Vorontsov who in describing the impact of the space station paraphrased the words of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
"This will be another big leap forward for mankind," Vorontsov said.
Countries taking part in the project are Canada, Japan, Russia, the United States, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.