Moscow: Neither the Russian Federal Space Agency(Roskosmos) nor other partners in the International Space Station project are planning to sink the ISS station in 2020, a top Russian space official said on Sunday.
"We discuss with our partners different variants of using the ISS after 2020, including use of it till 2028," Roskosmos` Head of piloted programmes Alexei Krasnov said while commenting on media reports that the ISS will follow in 2020 the fate of the Mir orbit complex.
Russian experts say that "from the technical point of view it is quite possible." An official decision about the station`s future is to come. It should be made within 2-3 years.
"Presently, we are designing the Federal space programme for 2016-2025, and thus we have to realise clearly whether we are using the ISS to 2025 or we do something different."
The Energiya space corporation suggests using separately the Russian segment of the station after 2020 if the partners for some reason refuse from participation in the ISS programme.
However, no refusals have been voiced as yet. On the contrary, on July 26, the coordination council of the participating countries discussed two major issues: possible use of the ISS for research of the far space and raising effectiveness of the scientific component of its use, Krasnov said.
The ISS international project, which was launched in 1998, involves Russia, the USA, countries of the European space agency, Canada, Japan and Brazil.
Initially, the station was planned to work for 15 years -till 2013-, but the disaster of Columbia shuttle terminated its construction in 2003 for several years. This year, the project participants have got support from their governments to expand the term of the ISS use to