The European Space Agency (ESA) has decided to extend its participation in the International Space Station (ISS) until 2030, seconding the counterparts of the United States and Japan.
In a statement released today, ESA says that the ministers of the 22 Member States responsible for space have decided to “extend the agency’s participation” in the ISS until 2030, allowing astronauts “to continue working in Earth’s orbit, on board the European laboratory of Columbus Research”.
The decision was taken at the ESA Ministerial Council, which met on Tuesday and today in Paris, France.
Portugal, one of ESA’s Member States, was represented by the Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato.
Recently, the US (NASA) and Japanese (JAXA) space agencies agreed to extend joint cooperation on the ISS until 2030.
Russia announced in 2021 its withdrawal from the ISS as of 2025 and, driven by the economic sanctions that were imposed by the West following the February invasion of Ukraine, will build its own space station (the country already had an orbital station, to Mir, between 1986 and 2001).
The International Space Station, the astronauts’ home and laboratory overlooking Earth, currently partners with NASA, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos (Russia) and CSA (Canada).
The term for exploration of the ISS, in these terms, ended in 2024.