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NASA Extends Space Station Life To 2024

The International Space Station will continue operations for an additional four years, or until 2024, U.S. space agency NASA has announced.

The $100 billion orbiting station has been operational for 15 years and had been expected to operate until 2020.

More than a dozen countries participate in the orbiting laboratory, which is the length of a football field at more than 100 meters.

The space station is maintained by a rotating crew of six astronauts and cosmonauts from the United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan.

Russian Soyuz rockets ferry three-man crews to and from the station.

However, U.S. companies SpaceX and Orbital Sciences are sending supplies using unmanned rockets.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa