Guests and staff are associated with the following countries:
Components are also made in places around the globe.
UK, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Luxemburg, (Euro Space agency)
Up there, all alone, on the front porch to the final frontier…
They are up there advancing the cause of humankind.
I just checked out the IMAX DVD. Comments by astronaut and cosmonaut alike both speak of seeing the earth below without any borders. One even said that we will not set up permanant residence on the moon as individual countries, but as allies representing all mankind.
The Imax special features pointed out a how a shot from the porthole on the Soyuz was not directly available due to the bulkiness of the camera. The quick problem solving ideal of one cosmonaut and the skills applied by rest of the crew, they set up mirror reflective shots that were angled just right. You would not know it was reflected if they didn’t tell you.
These people live, eat, work, sing, and make movies together up there. Sharing for them is essential to surviving. The main crew is 3, which will go up for a while as Soyuz and Shuttles dock to trade out crews.
All of the space agency crews are highly educated and heavily trained. Touring guests are also well trained. The guests so far have been highly successful technology entrepreneurs, so they also understand the discipline needed for successful trips up there. The tourism bill at ~ $20 mil cash is high enough to prevent a fraudster from getting on board.
The contrast to the UN is dramatic.
Maybe its because its mostly enlightened nations that are making the effort, so the petty dictators don’t have a say. The Russian and US space agencies show a very unified front to all the other participants, so unity of purpose for any new objective is quickly achieved. They also have the strongest communications links for station ops.