NASA has announced that the Biden administration will extend operations at the International Space Station (ISS), through 2030, as NASA stated Friday.

Congress only authorized funding for the huge orbiting laboratory up to 2024. But the American Space Agency expects more money to continue powering the station.

NASA offered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for private space station construction.

Although the ISS is expected to survive, it may be decommissioned in six years. The ship has suffered cracks and other leaks during the last few years. 

Scroll down to see the video 

NASA announced on Friday the Biden administration is extending operations of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030. Congress has only approved funding for the massive orbiting laboratory until 2024

NASA on Friday announced the Biden Administration’s intention to extend the operations of the International Space Station through 2030. Congress approved the funding for this massive orbiting laboratory only until 2024.

President Ronald Reagan announced the building of the ISS in his January 25, 1984 State of the Union Address. He noted that NASA would have the ISS completed within 10 years.

Two years later, on December 4, 1998 was the launch of the US portion of the vessel.

Over the years, more pieces were added to the spacecraft and it was finally ready for humans in 2000.

NASA’s Bill Shepard and Russia’s Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev arrived at the station on November 2, 2000 and stayed for several months – and humans have lived on the ISS since.

Even though the ISS will live on, the aged ship itself may not last another six years longer than previously planned. Pictured is the ISS in Sept 2000, two months before humans arrived on the ship

The ISS may live to see six more years, but the ship’s age will not be as great. Two months ago, the ISS was in its Sept 2000 state.

In May 2009, the ISS was fully operational and began to host six people. To do this, two Soyuz Lifeboats had to dock with it at all times.

It was also completed in 2011, at a length of 356 feet.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement on Friday: ‘The International Space Station is a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration and for more than 20 years has returned enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit humanity.

‘I’m pleased that the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to continuing station operations through 2030.’

NASA plans to continue working with its international partners in Europe (ESA, European Space Agency), Japan (JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Canada (CSA, Canadian Space Agency), and Russia (State Space Corporation Roscosmos) ‘to enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory through the rest of this decade.’

It is not clear how Friday’s announcement will impact NASA’s offer to private companies to build their own space stations.

NASA launched the Commercial LEO project (low-Earth orbit), earlier in this year. This is a program to allow private companies to build their own space station. NASA was one of many customers.

NASA’s Bill Shepard and Russia’s Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev arrived at the station on November 2, 2000 and stayed for several months - and humans have lived on the ISS since. Pictured is an image taken from NASA headquarters the day the trio arrived

NASA’s Bill Shepard and Russia’s Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev arrived at the station on November 2, 2000 and stayed for several months – and humans have lived on the ISS since. This image was taken at NASA Headquarters on the day that the trio arrived.

NASA announced this month that it had awarded contracts to three private companies for the construction of space stations in low Earth orbit.

The list includes Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman and Nanoracks, all of which are receiving a combined $415.6 million under NASA’s Commercial LEO Destinations (CLD) project, the agency announced on Thursday.

Nanoracks received $160million, Blue Origin was $130 million and Northrop Grumman $125.6 million respectively.

However, the ISS was designed to be used for only 15 years, and it is beginning to age.

Shepherd was a NASA ex-astronaut and one of the first to see the ISS. In August, cracks in the Russian Zarya Module were discovered by Shepherd.

In September, a former NASA astronaut William Shepherd (pictured), who was one of the first people on the ISS, revealed cracks were spotted in the Russian Zarya module in August. Shepherd reiterated claims by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, that it was 'becoming a serious issue'

William Shepherd, a former NASA astronaut and one of the first to see the ISS from space, reported that cracks in the Russian Zarya Module in August were discovered. Roscosmos (Russia’s space agency) reiterated Shepherd’s claims that the cracks were ‘becoming serious’.

NASA says the cracks on the $150 billion (£109 billion) laboratory did not pose any danger to astronauts ‘at this time’, and no new leaks had been identified.

On Tuesday, Shepherd stated that Russian and NASA engineers didn’t understand the reason cracks were appearing.

Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, reiterated Shepherd’s claims, claiming that it had “become a serious problem,” adding that Congress needs to resolve it before the ISS can be used for operations beyond the 2024 deadline.

Vladimir Solovyov is the chief engineer at Russian space company Energia. He stated that a variety of’superficial fractures’ were found on Zarya in August.

This module, also called the ‘Functional Cargo Block,’ is also known. Solovyov claimed that fissures have been found in “numbers of places”.

Solovyov said that he thought this statement was a sign of deterioration and that they will spread more over time.

He said that a substantial portion of the equipment at the ISS is aging.

NASA denied Russia’s claims of ‘bad’ cracks in the module. They said that no problems were “impacting crew or normal operation”.

August 2018 saw astronauts rush to fix a hole (pictured) which had appeared in the outer wall of the Soyuz capsule on the orbiting laboratory. Its origins were, and still are, a mystery despite rife speculation

Aug 2018 saw the astronauts race to patch a hole that had formed in the Soyuz capsule, an orbiting laboratory’s outer wall. Although there is much speculation about its origins, it remains a mystery. received confirmation from the space agency that there were no new potential leaks identified by ground crew or astronauts.

“We coordinate station operations regularly with all of our international partners, Roscosmos included.”

Shepherd who flew to orbit four more times said that cracks were small and resemble scratches on an aluminium plate surface. He estimates there are ‘about half a dozen’.

One year ago, the toilet broke and temperatures spiked without any warning. The oxygen-supply system also broke down.

The station has many redundancies. It even contains escape capsules that allow for the evacuation of all crew members to Earth in the event of an emergency.

Zvezda on the Russian-side, another module that started leaking air in September 2019, was also discovered and repaired.

Solovyov stated previously that there are already elements which have suffered severe damage and are no longer in service. Some of these elements are unreplaceable. We predict that many elements aboard the ISS will fail in an avalanche-like fashion after 2025.

Shepherd made the following statement to Congress: “Since last autumn, ISS experienced moderate internal space leakage. It was found that leaks had been detected in the interior transfer tunnel located at the back of the Russian Service module.

Leaks are tiny cracks at the surface of an aluminum tunnel’s hull. Crew members sealed all leak sites and leakage rates decreased.

“Engineers and technicians from Russia and the U.S. collaborate to resolve the issue. However, the root causes of cracking and their failure mechanisms, as well as the impacts on safety and future operations, have yet to be adequately identified.

“I do not believe the station is in immediate danger. We need to be more clear about this before clearing the station for operational use in the future.

When the core structure is beyond repair, NASA will retire the ISS and send it to the Earth’s atmosphere to melt. NASA has stated that they do not plan to finance or operate a station on Earth orbit.


The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.

Since November 2000, it has been permanently manned by rotating teams of astronauts and cosmos. 

Although crews have mostly come from Russia and the United States, the Japanese space agency JAXA as well as the European space agency ESA also send astronauts. 

The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and has been expended with multiple new modules added and upgrades to systems

Since its inception, the International Space Station (ISS) has been continuously occupied by astronauts for over 20 years. It has seen numerous upgrades and new modules. 

Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.

ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.

The US space agency, NASA, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners, including Europe, Russia and Japan.

So far 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the station, and among them eight private citizens who spent up to $50 million for their visit.

The future of the station is still up for debate beyond 2025. It is believed that some elements of the original structure may be deemed obsolete by then.

Russia is an important partner for the station. Russia plans to launch its orbital platform at that point with AxiomSpace. A private firm planning to also send modules to the station. 

NASA, ESA (JAXA), JAXA, Canada Space Agency, (CSA) and NASA are all working together in order to construct a space station on orbit around the Moon. Russia, China, and Russia are also working on a similar project that could include a base for the surface.