Scientific News

January 28, 2014: For nearly everything on Earth, a little room to grow can make all the difference. That is true in space, as well. The Obama Administration has announced support for extending the International Space Station‘s (ISS) mission to 2024, giving the project room to flourish. The extra decade will allow the ISS to continue its already fruitful microgravity research mission — offering scientists and engineers the time needed to ensure the future of exploration, scientific discoveries and economic development.

As NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated in a January 8 blog post, “The [space station] is a unique facility that offers enormous scientific and societal benefits. The Obama Administration’s decision to extend its life until at least 2024 will allow us to maximize its potential, deliver critical benefits to our nation and the world, and maintain American leadership in space.”

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January 27, 2014: It may be 350 kilometers (215 miles) above Earth and a place that only a privileged few will ever visit, but the International Space Station is crucial to advances in science, health and technology, experts say.

Earlier this month, NASA said the life of the $100 billion ISS would be extended by four years, or until at least 2024, allowing for more global research and scientific collaboration.

John Holdren, a senior White House adviser on science and technology, hailed the space station -- mainly built with US money -- as "a unique facility that offers enormous scientific and societal benefits.

"The Obama administration's decision to extend its life until at least 2024 will allow us to maximize its potential, deliver critical benefits to our nation and the world and maintain American leadership in space," he said.

January 23, 2014: A hugely popular, hugely historic and just plain huge NASA tour spot is closing to the public as the space agency picks up the pace preparing the facility for the future of U.S. space exploration.

Tours taking the public into the 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are set to end on Feb. 11, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announced recently.

Public access to the voluminous facility is being halted as work resumes to renovate the VAB for the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA's next-generation heavy-lift rocket. The towering launch vehicle will provide NASA with a new capability for human exploration beyond Earth orbit.

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January 12, 2014: Washington (AFP) - Orbital Sciences Corporation's unmanned Cygnus cargo ship on Sunday arrived at the International Space Station on the company's first regular supply mission to the research outpost.

Cygnus is delivering 2,780 pounds (1,260 kilograms) of supplies to the space station including hardware, food and equipment, which astronauts will use to carry out studies on everything from ant behavior to antibiotic drug resistance.

The capsule officially berthed with the space station at 1305 GMT, nearly two hours after a robotic arm reached out and grabbed the incoming cargo carrier, according to the US space agency NASA's television network.

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.

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December 30, 2013: The year 2013 marked an incredible one for spaceflight, with space agencies around the world making giant leaps in their own exploration of the solar system, while NASA welcomed the addition of a new commercial cargo ship to its list of supplies for the International Space Station.

Also this year, Virgin Galactic and other private spaceflight companies made strides in their work to make space tourist flights a reality, while one Canadian astronaut became a social media mega-star by showing what life is truly like in space.

Here's a look at five of the most amazing spaceflight feats of 2013:

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