International Partners Discuss Space Station Extension And Use

WASHINGTON -- The International Space Station partner agencies met
Tuesday, Sept. 21, by videoconference to discuss continuation of
space station operations into the next decade and its use as a
research laboratory.

The Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) meeting included senior
representatives from NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the
European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Federal Space Agency
(Roscosmos), and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports,
Science and Technology (MEXT). The MCB meets periodically to ensure
coordination of station operations and activities among the partners.

The MCB was pleased to learn that the government of Japan has approved
continuing space station operations beyond 2016. Coupled with the
approval of the government of the Russian Federation for continuation
to 2020, this progress is indicative of the strength of the station
partnership and the successful use of station.

ESA and CSA are working with their respective governments to reach
consensus about the continuation of the station. NASA also is
continuing to work with the U.S. Congress to complete the necessary
procedures to extend station operations consistent with the
presidential budget request.

The MCB also noted the benefits to future exploration beyond low-Earth
orbit through enhanced station research, technology development and
other opportunities.

Each partner agency reaffirmed its commitment to gaining the maximum
return from station with increasing the operational efficiency.
On-going research with potential societal impacts includes:

-- NASA and the National Institutes of Health recently announced three
new biomedical experiments using the station's unique microgravity
facilities to improve human health on Earth. The experiments will use
the station to study how bones and the immune system weaken in space
as part of NIH's new BioMed-ISS program.

-- CSA will focus its life science research program on mitigating
health risks associated with spaceflight. More specifically, these
health experiments and activities will monitor crew health and
deliver health care on space missions, develop exercise, etc.


-- ESA just started a fluid physics experiment in the Microgravity
Science Glovebox onboard the station's Columbus module that is of
high interest to material scientists. The experiment uses advanced
optical diagnostics to investigate the transformation of particles to
aggregates due to density fluctuations in a mixture. The ESA
experiment demonstrates a new capability to reverse and fine-tune the
aggregation process; such control may yield a significant potential
impact on fabrication of micro-structured materials such as photonic crystals.


-- Roscosmos continues experimental programs aimed at human's
adaptation to future long-term expeditions. Effects of the flight
conditions on the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system and
bones are being carefully investigated in dedicated medical
experiments. Other research being conducted includes plantation of
wheat and vegetables followed by genetic, microbiological and
biochemical tests of plants.


-- Japan's externally mounted X-Ray camera monitors more than 1,000
X-ray sources in space, including black holes and neutron stars. The
instrument scans the entire sky in X-ray wavelengths and downlinks
data to be distributed through the Internet to research groups around
the world. Since last October, it has issued more than 50 alerts for
the X-ray transient phenomena.


All of the partners also recognize the key role of the space station
in inspiring students around the world to learn about science,
technology, engineering and mathematics. More than 30 million
students have participated in human spaceflight though communications
downlinks and interactive experiments with station astronauts.

For more information about the space station, visit NASA on the Web at:


Source: NASA

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