Speaking at a global space exploration forum Thursday, John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, explained the importance of President Obama’s decision to extend International Space Station (ISS) operations until at least 2024. Holdren discussed the ISS extension plan at the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF) in Washington, where leaders from more than 35 spacefaring nations gathered for the first ministerial-level meeting ever held to build political support for global cooperation in space exploration. The U.S. Department of State hosted the meeting.
“The exploration and utilization of space benefits all humankind,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a written statement. “They further promote innovation and economic development, foster scientific advancement, and inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue studies and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Government-level involvement in and support for human and robotic space exploration are critical to realizing these benefits. The ISEF provides us with an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation through discussions of policy issues relevant to the exploration, long-term sustainability, development, and utilization of this important domain.”
Holdren touted the benefits of continuing to operate the orbiting laboratory for at least another decade in his remarks.
“The ISS is a unique facility that offers enormous scientific and societal benefits,” said Holdren. “The Obama Administration’s decision to extend its life until at least 2024 will allow us to maximize its potential, deliver critical benefits to our Nation and the world, and maintain American leadership in space.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden emphasized in a keynote speech the importance of the role space exploration has played in scientific discovery in space and on Earth, and the ways exploration has led to new technologies.
“NASA is committed to the space station as a long-term platform to enable the utilization of space for global research and development,” Bolden said. “We’re committed to implementing a unified strategy of deep space exploration, with robotic and human missions to destinations that include near-Earth asteroids, the moon and Mars. And we are committed to our international partnerships and the continued peaceful uses of outer space and unlocking the mysteries of our vast universe.”
Deputy Secretary of State William Burns spoke at the forum on behalf of the Department of State.
“We all share a deep stake in extending humanity’s reach further into the solar system, advancing innovation further and faster, and extending the benefits of discovery to more people in more places,” Burns said. “The question facing us today is whether we can muster the courage and political will to advance space exploration and ensure that cooperation continues to trump competition.”
After the meeting, the State Department issued a forum summary on behalf of the participating countries. The full text of the summary is at the bottom of this release.
For documents issued by the State Department for the International Space Exploration Forum, visit: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/sat/isef2014/index.htm
For the International Space Exploration Forum Fact Sheet, visit: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/01/219503.htm
For remarks by Deputy Secretary of State Burns, visit: http://www.state.gov/s/d/2014/219501.htm
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