Today, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. John P. Holdren, announced the Obama Administration's proposed extension of operations of the International Space Station (ISS) to at least 2024. The ISS is authorized under the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 [P.L. 111-267] to operate until at least 2020.
Weighing over 900,000 pounds and spanning the area of a football field, including end zones, with its large solar arrays, the development and construction of the ISS is considered one of the most significant engineering, technological and geopolitical achievements in history. The Space Station is a collaboration of 16 nations and supports advances in human health and exploration, technology demonstration to enable future exploration and research in basic life and physical sciences, and earth and space science. The ISS has had continuous human occupation since Expedition 1 docked with the Station on November 2, 2000.
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said, "I am pleased that the Administration is initiating an important dialogue with its international partners on the extension of ISS operations to at least 2024. The ISS has been a critical element of our nation's human space exploration program, and it is important that a decision on its potential extended operations be made in a way that enables NASA and its partners to ensure its effective utilization and operation. I look forward to further details on the Administration's proposal and on the planned priorities and objectives for ISS activities during the proposed extension."
Space Subcommittee Ranking Member Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) stated, "I support the Administration's initiative to propose extending ISS operations and utilization to at least 2024. The ISS and its international partnership has been a major cornerstone of U.S. human space flight and I look forward to learning about how the proposed extension will help further the goals of U.S. science and exploration. In that regard, as reflected in the NASA Authorization Act of 2013 bill, H.R. 2616, that I introduced last year, I urge NASA to outline how the United States' ISS program, and the proposed extension, will support achievement of the goal to successfully conduct a crewed mission to the surface of Mars and to pursue a research program that advances knowledge and provides benefits to society. Finally, we will need to ensure that any decision to extend ISS is accompanied by the necessary resources so that NASA's other important missions in science, aeronautics, and human exploration are not impacted adversely."