Sunlight glints off the International Space Station.
Sunlight glints off the International Space Station with the blue limb of Earth providing a dramatic backdrop in this photo taken by an astronaut on the shuttle Endeavour just before it docked after midnight on Feb. 10, 2010 during the STS-130 mission.
Credit: NASA

NASA and White House officials are announcing plans today (Jan. 8) to keep the International Space Station running through at least 2024 — a four-year life extension for the largest spacecraft ever built.

The NASA decision will allow scientists to use the International Space Station for at least the next 10 years, maximizing the science return on the $100 billion orbiting laboratory, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s chief of exploration and human spaceflight operations, said in a teleconference. Previous lifetime projections for the space station called for it be shut down in 2020.

“There’s some pretty significant benefits in announcing us to go beyond 2020,” Gerstenmaier said, adding that the agency will maintain its annual $3 billion space station budget through the extension. NASA chief Charles Bolden and White House science advisor John Holdren are expected to release a statement on the extension later today.

via International Space Station Gets Life Extension Through 2024 | Space.com.