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NASA Not Planning to Withdraw From ISS Program Before 2024 – Official

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NASA Senior Advisor for Exploration and Space Operations Kathy Laurini stated that NASA's international partners have decided to keep the ISS in orbit until 2024, and that the possibility of prolonging the program still remained.

This 2010 file photo provided by NASA shows the International Space Station with Earth's horizon as a backdrop. - Sputnik International
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BEIJING (Sputnik) — The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) does not plan to withdraw from the International Space Station (ISS) program before 2024 despite speculation made to the contrary, NASA Senior Advisor for Exploration and Space Operations Kathy Laurini told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

In May, NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin, otherwise known as the second man on the Moon, called on the agency to "retire the ISS as soon as possible" and focus on the Mars program instead.

"No, no, no, we are committed to the Space Station and the partnership," Laurini said during the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2017), when asked if the United States would withdraw from the ISS before 2024.

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She added that NASA's international partners have decided to keep the ISS in orbit until 2024, and that the possibility of prolonging the program still remained.

"Right now we’ve got the confidence in the hardware to last till 2028. So, that’s a technical confidence. The other partners will decide, based on a number of criteria," Laurini explained.

On July 28, the Russian manned Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft will be launched to the ISS, carrying the members of Expedition 52/53: NASA astronaut Randolph Bresnik, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky. Expedition 52, which includes Russia's Fyodor Yurchikhin and US astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson, is currently on board the ISS and is due to return to Earth in September.

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