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article imageHarper government extends International Space Station commitment

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 21, 2015 in Politics
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government re-upped their commitment to the International Space Station (ISS), signing on for an extra four years. Canada will now be a part of the project until at least 2024.
The word about the extension came courtesy Finance Minister Joe Oliver's budget. That commitment means Canadians must pay an extra $30 million in tax money for Canada's share of the project. Much of the money goes to research and technology development.
The U.S. and Russia are also in until 2024.
The ISS is the largest orbital human-made body in space. Components of the habitable artificial satellite were first launched in 1998 and Canada has been a part of the project since its inception.
A major contribution of Canada is the Mobile Servicing System that includes a mobile work platform and storage space, a 'robotic' handy-man and a 17 metre (55) foot) robotic arm.
Often able to be seen from Earth, the ISS is defined by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as "an orbiting research laboratory" and the CSA notes it has circled our globe continuously since being placed in space.
"Since the first module of the station was launched in 1998, the station has circled the globe 16 times per day at 28,000 km/h at an altitude of about 370 km, covering a distance equivalent to the Moon and back daily," their website says.
"The station is about as long as a Canadian football field, and has as much living space as a five-bedroom house."
It is served by rotating six-member international crews, with each expedition onboard for five months. Canadian astronaut Robert B. Thirsk was a member of Expeditions 20 and 21 in 2009 while Chris Hadfield was commander of Expeditions 34 and 35 in 2012 and 2013.
Other countries involved are Japan and Brazil and the 11 member states of the European Space Agency.
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