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Extension of space station support fails

Dec. 29, 2010 at 7:49 PM   |   Comments

PARIS, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency says it was unable to win approval of NASA's proposed five-year extension of operations of the International Space Station.

The ESA says its member governments failed to reach agreement on the proposed extension of ISS operations to 2020 because of an unrelated conflict over financial support for Europe's Arianespace commercial launch services consortium, SPACE.com reported Wednesday.

The ESA, already is committed to supporting the station through 2015, said no decision about the extension to 2020 would be made before a March meeting of ESA governments.

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain had hoped to confirm to NASA by the end of 2010 that ESA would continue its space station partnership, paying Europe's share of slightly more than 8 percent of the station's operating costs.

European government officials said it is unlikely a full 10-year commitment will be agreed to in March, but that a two-year program is well within reach.

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