The International Space Station, backdropped by the Earth [Image: Nasa]
THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE Station will operate for an additional four years, or until 2024, the US space agency confirmed today.
“I think this is a tremendous announcement for us here in the space station world,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
Further details about the decision are expected from the White House and NASA administrator Charles Bolden later today.
The orbiting outpost has been operational for 15 years, and was expected to remain open to global collaborators until 2020.
A total of 16 countries participate in the space station.
It maintains a rotating crew of six astronauts from the United States, Russia, Europe and Japan.
The ongoing mission of the space station was thrust back into the public consciousness last year as a result of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s entertaining Tweets and stunning photos from on board the vessel.
Hadfield also became the first person to shoot a music video in space — recording his own version of David Bowie’s seminal ‘Space Oddity’ with new lyrics.
(Youtube: Chris Hadfield)
Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy