Russia’s Roscosmos state space agency and NASA are in talks on extending the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) until 2030, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday.
“The talks with NASA on extending the operation of the ISS until 2030 are underway,” Roscosmos CEO was quoted as saying by TASS new agency.
Rogozin also said that the US and Russia have reached an agreement on the engineering support for the Zarya module until 2024 carried out by Russia.
On December 31, the Joe Biden administration committed to extending the ISS operations through 2030.
“The International Space Station is a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration and for more than 20 years has returned enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit humanity,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson had said in a statement.
Astronauts have lived and worked onboard the ISS orbiting roughly 250 miles above the Earth’s surface for more than 20 years.
“The ISS costs about $3 billion a year, roughly a third of NASA’s annual human space flight budget, and while current plans call for the Station’s retirement in 2024, an extension to 2030 is likely,” the US space agency has said in an audit report.
The extension comes as NASA is already making plans to transition from the ISS to commercial space stations and other private platforms in low Earth orbit, CNET reported.
Earlier in December, NASA awarded more than $400 million to three companies — Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman — to develop designs for space stations and other “commercial destinations” in space. NASA has said the transition away from the ISS will allow it to save money and focus on its Artemis missions to the moon and Mars.