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NASA welcomes new Russian commitment to space station

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NASA welcomes new Russian commitment to space station
The International Space Station, photographed from a Soyuz capsule in 2018, will continue to have Russian participation. Photo courtesy of NASA

Sept. 2 (UPI) -- NASA welcomed reports Thursday that Russia's space agency is committed to supporting the International Space Station as long as it operates, administrator Bill Nelson said.

"I look forward to continued cooperation with Roscosmos on the International Space Station until 2030 and into the future," Nelson said in the emailed statement.

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The space station's official decommission date is 2028, but the space agencies continue to negotiate over details of extending that by two years, NASA confirmed.

Russian officials said earlier this year they might pull out of the international partnership that operates the station by 2025, according to Russia's TASS news service.

RELATED NASA mulls how to dispose of International Space Station

But CNN reported Thursday that Dmitry Rogozin, director general of Roscosmos, acknowledged in an interview that Russia's ties to the space station are permanent.

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"This is a family, where a divorce within a station is not possible," Rogozin told CNN. The broadcaster said it was Rogozin's first interview with Western media since taking charge of the Russian agency in 2018.

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Russian's own formal agreement with the partnership ends in 2024, but can be extended.

Russia is a major partner in the international coalition of nations that operate and use the space station, which include Europe, Japan and Canada. Russia launched the first piece of the orbiting laboratory in 1998.

20 years aboard the International Space Station

The International Space Station is photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking on October 4, 2018. NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev executed a fly-around of the orbiting laboratory to take pictures of the space station before returning home after spending 197 days in space. Photo courtesy of NASA/Roscosmos

RELATED Space station mishap caused orbiting lab to rotate 1 1/2 times, NASA says

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