NASA Receives European Commitment To Continue Space Station

WASHINGTON -- The Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) for the
International Space Station partner agencies met Wednesday, April 27,
to discuss increased efforts to use the station as a test-bed for
exploration. The MCB also congratulated the European Space Agency
(ESA) on its recent decision to continue station operations to at least 2020.

The MCB is working diligently to extend the benefits to future
exploration beyond low-Earth orbit through enhanced station research,
technology development and other opportunities. Other topics on the
agenda included a report on efforts to create international standards
for docking and berthing; rendezvous and proximity operations;
interfaces for replaceable items and payloads; and standardization of
command protocols for spacecraft. To view the International Docking
Systems Standard, visit:


Station research with potential societal impact includes:
-- The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, which will fly aboard STS-134,
scheduled to launch on April 29. The experiment is a cosmic ray
detector that will search for dark matter and antimatter, components
critical to understanding the origin and structure of our universe.
-- The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) continues its life science research
program on mitigating health risks associated with spaceflight. These
health experiments and activities will monitor crew health and
deliver health care on space missions.
-- ESA began the GeoFlow experiment in the Fluid Science Laboratory
payload. This experiment will take advantage of the microgravity
environment on the station in combination with electrical fields,
thermal gradients and rotation to simulate many parameters of
geo-physical flows under the Earth's crust. Results will help
scientists understand thermal convection in planets and the outer
shells of celestial bodies. It also will verify numerical simulations
of fluid dynamics of liquid core planets with real experimental data.

-- Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, continues experimental
programs aimed at human adaptation to future long- term expeditions.
Dedicated medical experiments study the effects of flight conditions
on the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and bones. Other
research includes planting wheat and vegetables them performing
genetic, microbiological and biochemical tests on the plants.
-- Japan has found several new X-ray celestial bodies by the Monitor
of All-sky X-ray Image instrument of "Kibo" and recently reported the
new gamma rays outburst of the Whale or Cetus. This discovery will
contribute to understanding the origin and the evolution of the
universe. Japan has also implemented a new investigation on cucumber
seedlings to study how plants sense gravity as an environmental
signal and use it for governing their structural development and
growth orientation.

The governments of Japan and the Russian Federation already have
approved continued station operations beyond 2016. NASA received
approval in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. CSA is working with
its government to reach consensus about the continuation of the station.

The MCB includes senior representatives from NASA, CSA, ESA, Roscosmos
and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology. The MCB meets periodically to ensure coordination of
station operations and activities among the partners.

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:


For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


For more information about the Canadian Space Agency, visit:


For more information about the European Space Agency, visit:


For more information about the Roscosmos, visit:


For more information about Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology, visit:


Source: NASA

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