by Staff Writers
Washington DC (Sputnik) Feb 27, 2015
NASA is ready to continue to cooperate with its International Space Station (ISS) partners, including Russia, for at least nine more years, the space agency has said in a statement.
"The Obama administration is committed to extending operation of the International Space Station to at least 2024," NASA said in the statement obtained by RIA Novosti on Thursday, adding that it welcomes "continued cooperation" from its ISS partners in support of this extension and looks forward to working with them on the ISS "until at least 2024".
According to NASA, the ISS is providing "a unique environment" for research and space operations that will be necessary for conducting human missions deeper into space. The space station will also contribute significantly to the expansion of commercial activity in low-Earth orbit, NASA added.
On Tuesday, Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos announced that Russia will continue to use the ISS until around 2024 and will then build its own orbital outpost using the existing ISS modules. According to NASA, the ISS currently comprises more than a dozen modules, including five Russian ones.
Russia's plan to build a new high-altitude space outpost was confirmed last December by Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko, who said that the new Russian space station could also serve as a base for the country's lunar program.
Source: Sputnik International
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