NASA and White House officials are announcing plans today (Jan. 8) to keep the International Space Station running through at least 2024 — a four-year life extension for the largest spacecraft ever built.
The NASA decision will allow scientists to use the International Space Station for at least the next 10 years, maximizing the science return on the $100 billion orbiting laboratory, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's chief of exploration and human spaceflight operations, said in a teleconference. Previous lifetime projections for the space station called for it be shut down in 2020.
NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Expedition 36 flight engineer, works to setup the Multi-Purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) fluorescence microscope in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. This configuration, along with the leak checks that the crew performed in June, is in preparation for the Aniso Tubule experiment launching on HTV-4 in August. Aniso Tubule will investigate the role of cortical microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins in plant growth while in microgravity.