January 10, 2014: As more than 30 heads of space agencies from around the world prepare to gather in Washington January 9-10 for an unprecedented summit on the future of space exploration, NASA is pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2024. NASA is hopeful and optimistic that the ISS partners will join this extension effort and thus enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this orbiting laboratory for at least another decade.
The extension of ISS operation will allow NASA and the international space community to accomplish a number of important goals.
First, it will allow NASA to complete necessary research activities aboard the ISS in support of planned long-duration human missions beyond low-Earth orbit — including the planned human mission to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s. NASA has determined that research on ISS is necessary to mitigate fully 21 of the 32 human-health risks anticipated on long-duration missions. A related critical function of ISS is testing the technologies and spacecraft systems necessary for humans to safely and productively operate in deep space. Extending ISS until 2024 will give us the necessary time to bring these systems to maturity.