Space station could operate until 2028, says consortium

March 11, 2010
In the grasp of the Canadarm2, the cupola was relocated from the forward port to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station's newly installed Tranquility node in this NASA image obtained in February 2010. The consortium of agencies building the ISS wants to see if the orbital outpost can operate until 2028, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday.

The consortium of agencies building the International Space Station (ISS) wants to see if the orbital outpost can operate until 2028, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Thursday.

"There are no identified technical constraints to continuing ISS operations beyond the current planning horizon of 2015 to at least 2020," it said in a press release after a meeting of ISS partners in Tokyo.

"The partnership is currently working to certify on-orbit elements through 2028," it said.

The Tokyo meeting gathered space agency heads from the United States, which is shouldering the main burden of building the ISS, from Canada, Japan and Russia and as well as from ESA.

Costing a reputed 100 billion dollars, the ISS has been hit by budget overruns and setbacks, including the loss of two of the US space shuttles, used to hoist components into low Earth orbit.

The station is due to be completed this year after a 12-year construction effort.

But its future beyond 2015 has recently been under cloud because of NASA's budget constraints.

That sparked fears within ESA that years of investment will yield little scientific reward before the station is mothballed.

In his draft spending plans for 2011, President Barack Obama pledged to extend the US commitment to the ISS to 2020 or beyond, said in February.

Obama also confirmed the shuttle fleet's phaseout this year, promised help for commercial manned missions in space and dropped the so-called Constellation programme his predecessor George W. Bush announced in 2004 to return Americans to the Moon by 2020.

Explore further: International Space Station Heads of Agency Meeting

Related Stories

International Space Station Heads of Agency Meeting

July 27, 2004

ESA PR 41-2004. Space agency leaders from the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada met today at the ESA Technical Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, to discuss International Space Station (ISS) cooperation ...

Space officials talk about the ISS

January 23, 2007

The heads of the International Space Station partners met at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris Tuesday to review ISS cooperation.

Russia plans more ISS modules

November 10, 2007

Roskosmos chief Anatoly Perminov says the Russian space agency will build three new modules for the International Space Station by 2011.

Russia planning new space platform

December 18, 2007

Russia is developing a space platform from which missions to the moon and Mars could be launched, the Russian space agency said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Astronomers identify new asynchronous short period polar

October 16, 2017

(—An international team of astronomers led by Gagik H. Tovmassian of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has uncovered new details into the nature of a cataclysmic variable known as IGR J19552+0044. ...

The remarkable jet of the quasar 4C+19.44

October 16, 2017

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores. So much energy is being radiated from near the nucleus of a quasar that it is much brighter than the rest of the entire galaxy. Much of that radiation is at radio ...

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

October 13, 2017

Combining computer observations and simulations, a new model shows that the presence of neutrals in the gas facilitates the magnetic fields to penetrate through the surface of the Sun producing the spicules. In this study, ...

Astronomers discover unusual spindle-like galaxies

October 12, 2017

Galaxies are majestic, rotating wheels of stars? Not in the case of the spindle-like galaxies studied by Athanasia Tsatsi (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy) and her colleagues. Using the CALIFA survey, the astronomers found ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (3) Mar 11, 2010
Loss of the two shuttles is not to be attributed to the ISS program. Challenger was lost more than a decade before the first ISS component was launched. Columbia was lost on a non-ISS mission. Strangely enough, an ISS mission may have detected the problem that caused the loss of Challenger.
2 / 5 (2) Mar 11, 2010
Strangely enough, an ISS mission may have detected the problem that caused the loss of Challenger.

And how would Challenger going to a space station that didn't exist when it was lost help mitigate that problem some 70 or 80 seconds into flight?
4.8 / 5 (4) Mar 11, 2010
I'm sure joefarah meant that the ISS could have detected the issues on Columbia.
Don't be mean.
4 / 5 (1) Mar 11, 2010
Loss of the two shuttles is not to be attributed to the ISS program.
I don't think the author of the article meant that the loss of the shuttles was an unexpected cost of the program, I think he meant it was an unforeseen setback. However, I agree with Hungry4info2 in that I don't see how the loss of Challenger was an unexpected setback for the ISS program (which, as far as I know, was not even in the planning stages at the time of the accident).

edit: Apparently the Space Station Freedom program was proposed in 1984 (before the explosion of the Challlenger) and eventually led to the ISS program.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.