Today in Tokyo the leaders of the space agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States met to discuss the future of the International Space Station (ISS). The space station is nearing completion and the group noted there are no technical constraints to continue operations beyond 2015 to 2020 and possibly 2028. Extending the lifespan of the station to 2028 is a matter of certifying the on-orbit elements, something the ISS partners are currently doing.
With the space station nearing completion and the capability to support a full-time crew of six it was noted of the importance to fully exploit the station’s scientific, engineering and education potential.
The agency heads also discussed the importance of increasing ISS utilization and operational efficiency including finding and coordinating efficiencies across the ISS program and assuring the most effective use of capabilities, such as space transportation for crew and cargo.