Space station needs ‘extension to 2020’, Europe wants a decision in 2010 on the life of the International Space Station

ISS International Space Station

At the moment, no programme for its use nor any funding has been put in place to support the platform beyond 2015.

But the European Space Agency’s (Esa) Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, told the BBC the uncertainty was undermining best use of the ISS.

He said he was persuaded of its worth, and expressed the desire to keep flying the station until at least 2020.

Only by guaranteeing longevity would more scientists come forward to run experiments on the orbiting laboratory, he argued.

“I am convinced that stopping the station in 2015 would be a mistake because we cannot attract the best scientists if we are telling them today ‘you are welcome on the space station but you’d better be quick because in 2015 we close the shop’,” he said.

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Florida Skywatchers Have Chances to Spot Space Station

Skywatchers in Florida have two chances to spot the International Space Station fly high overhead in the next week.

On Sunday and Tuesday, the space station should be clearly visible (weather permitting) to observers in central Florida, but you’ll have to get up before sunrise to spot it in the predawn sky.

From Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, the space station should appear as a fast-moving bright object moving across the dark sky, but only if the weather is clear. The pass begins at 6:33 a.m. EST in the southwest, with the station flying overhead to disappear on the northeast horizon. The entire pass should take about five minutes.

On Tuesday, Dec. 8, space station hunters will have to begin their search even earlier to catch the bright orbiting lab fly overhead at 5:46 a.m. EST. The three-minute pass will begin in the west-southwest, with the station flying toward the northeast.

Several sites can tell you when the space station is visible from specific locations in Florida (for these passes) and elsewhere at all times:

Get the details here…