India has launched a probe that will orbit the moon. It will also send down the flag of India to join those of the United States, Russia, and Japan.
In the meantime, the American space program, which will soon retire the space shuttle, will depend on Russian spacecraft to take us back and forth from the International Space Station. From The Long Countdown – For U.S. Astronauts, a Russian Second Home – NYTimes.com:
During the five-year gap after NASA shuts down the space shuttle program in 2010 and the next generation of spacecraft makes its debut by 2015, Russia will have the only ride for humans to the station.
The gap, which was planned by the Bush administration to create the next generation of American spacecraft without significantly increasing NASA’s budget, is controversial. But it is also all but inevitable, because much of the work to shut down the shuttles is under way, and the path to the new Constellation craft would be hard to compress even with additional financing.
Those who work side by side with their Russian counterparts say that strong relationships and mutual respect have resulted from the many years of collaboration. And they say that whatever the broader geopolitical concerns about relying on Russia for space transportation during the five years when the United States cannot get to the space station on its own rockets, they believe that the multinational partnership that built the station will hold.