The heads of space agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States met at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on March 2, 2006, to review International Space Station (ISS) cooperation and endorse a revision to the ISS configuration and assembly sequence. At today’s meeting, the Heads of Agency were also briefed on the status of ongoing ISS operations and flight hardware development activities across the partnership. The partners reaffirmed their agencies’ commitment to meet their mutual obligations, to implement six person crew operations in 2009, and an adequate number of Shuttle flights to complete the assembly of ISS by the end of the decade. The partners also affirmed their plans to use a combination of transportation systems provided by Europe, Japan, Russia, and the United States in order to complete ISS assembly in a timeframe that meets the needs of the partners and ensures full utilization of the unique capabilities of the ISS throughout its lifetime.
The ISS Heads of Agency expressed their appreciation for the outstanding work being conducted by the ISS on-orbit crews and ground support personnel, commending them for their creativity in making full use of available resources to operate the ISS, prepare for assembly missions and carry out scientific research aboard the ISS. The uninterrupted flow of Russian vehicles, the outstanding performance of Canadarm2, the successful Shuttle logistics flight, and the resourcefulness of all of the partners’ ground-based engineers, researchers and operations personnel have served to highlight the strength of the ISS partnership and the importance of international cooperation in space operations.
The partners look forward to the upcoming Space Shuttle flight of the STS-121 mission and a return to ISS assembly activity and a permanent crew of three. They also noted the upcoming launch of key ISS elements such as: three additional power trusses to support overall ISS needs and the needs of the partners, the European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle, the U.S. Node 2, the European Space Agency Columbus Module, the Canadian two-armed Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator Dextre, the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo, the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module and the Japanese H-2 Transfer Vehicle. These elements of the ISS Program will bring to fruition the partnership’s goal of operation and utilization of a permanently inhabited civil International Space Station.
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