The story

International Space Station

International Space Station gets 4 more years of life

Four more years! The US Presidency has re-purposed Barrack Obama’s famous tweet for something altogether more exciting by extending the planned lifespan of the International Space Station (ISS) past 2020.

The White House confirmed that the 450 000kg hunk of metal and plastic that houses up to six astronauts (and cosmonauts if you prefer) will stay in service until 2024. It gives the recently turned 15 year old another decade in orbit.

The extension of the program will be used to “mitigate fully 21 of the 32 human-health risks anticipated on long-duration missions” in space as well as to test out new technology and spacecraft systems. NASA wants to get those out of the way before they attempt the first planned human mission to an asteroid by 2025 and a manned mission to Mars some time in the 2030s.

The ISS is not only being used for space exploration though with current research on the station including potential vaccines for Salmonella and drug resistant strains of bacteria and even a new technique for delivering cancer treatment drugs to tumours without affecting the healthy cells around it.

There is of course a tinge of South African pride involved with the extension of the ISS program. Not only can we claim one of only eight civilians who have ever visited the station (Mark Shuttleworth), we can also claim Pretoria born Elon Musk whose company, SpaceX, is one of the two currently contracted by NASA to resupply the station.

All that’s left to secure the future of the ISS is for the other participating nations to agree to the extension at a meeting taking place in Washington about the future of human space exploration over the next two days.

Source: White House Pressroom

Image: Shutterstock

Recently Published

code snippet

“I’m a big supporter of people making money” – Open licensing and code sharing initiative launches for Africa

If you’re in the habit of dropping by the Cape Town offices of ...


5 of the top mobile games to download right now

On the slim chance that you’ve run out of games to play on your ...


Eskom appoints former DPE director-general as new CEO

The director-general at the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE), ...


10 locally-made technologies from the SAB Social Innovation Awards finalists

South African Breweries (SAB) is hosting its fourth annual Social ...

r2k thumb

Mobile operators must end “phoney price wars”, deliver free calls says R2K

Campaign group Right2Know (R2K) is warning mobile phone users not to ...


Cloud storage, simple invoicing & more: 5 Windows 8.1 business apps that make everything work

When it comes to doing business, you simply cannot make it work ...

HTC One M8 for Windows

The HTC One (M8) for Windows is official

It’s been one of the worst kept secrets in the smartphone world ...


New Alone in the Dark coming to PC this year

Publisher Atari is keen to resurrect Alone in the Dark and Haunted ...

5364620846_81bf6de65b_o (1)

Expect to start seeing tweets from people you don’t follow on your timeline

Pretty soon, you’ll see tweets, videos and photos from people ...