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World space agencies confirm serviceability of ISS through 2020

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:15 am via: RIA Novosti
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MOSCOW, (RIA Novosti) – There are no technical constraints to extending the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2020, top international space officials said on Thursday.

The heads of space agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States involved in the ISS project met in Tokyo to review the prospects for cooperation over the next decade.

“The heads of the agencies expressed their strong mutual interest in continuing operations and utilization for as long as there are demonstrable benefits to using the ISS,” the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said on its website.

Roscosmos said the participants in the project “emphasized their common intent to undertake the necessary procedures within their respective governments to reach consensus later this year on the continuation of the ISS until the next decade.”

The orbital assembly of the ISS began with the launch of the U.S.-funded and Russian-built Zarya module from Kazakhstan on November 20, 1998. Zarya, which means “dawn” in Russian, was the ISS’s first component.

The project has taken longer than the planned five years, and as of November 2009 the station consisted of 11 pressurized modules and an extensive integrated truss structure. Three remaining modules will be added to the station by December 2011.

“With the assembly of the ISS nearing completion and the capability to support a full-time crew of six established, they [the heads of the agencies] noted the outstanding opportunities now offered by the ISS for on-orbit research and for discovery including the operation and management of the world’s largest international space complex,” Roscosmos said.

The decision to extend the service life of the orbital station must be adopted by the governments of all 15 countries participating in the project.

Upon its completion, the ISS will weigh 470 tons and be 109 meters long, 88.4 meters wide. Its total cost is expected to be $40 billion.

Copyright 2010 RIA Novosti. All rights reserved.

The Human Space Station (HSSInc.Org), a forming not-for-profit organization, will be ready to take over the ISS in 2020 or in 2028 if extended. Replacing or repairing older modules will be cheaper than building a new space station.

Representative from the existing government members of the ISS will be invited to be on the HSS Board of Directors along with representatives from corporate sponsors, from major world religions, and representatives-at-large elected by individual members.

New modules are planned to include space hotels (for tourists and space workers) and the construction of a very long range, multi-galactic, and multi-generation space craft. Space will be rented to scientists from all over the world to further conduct their existing and new (non-military) scientific experiments. Corporate sponsors will be allowed to apply to lease space on the HSS (as controlled by the HSS Board of Directors) or connections to the HSS (including power, water, air, and waste disposal).
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