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Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-4769)

July 30, 2003
RELEASE : 03-254
Space Station Agency Leaders Look To The Future
Space agency leaders from the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and Russia met Wednesday in Monterey, Calif., to review the status of cooperation on the International Space Station Program.

The meeting participants noted the significant milestone of the 1,000th day of permanent human presence aboard the Space Station during a live telephone conversation with the current crew, Expedition 7 Commander, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, and NASA Station Science Officer, Ed Lu.

The Heads of Agency (HOA) were briefed on the preliminary plans for the return to flight of the U.S. Space Shuttle. They agreed to review and update the Space Station Program Action Plan, adopted in December 2002, in order to realize the objectives of the program as soon as possible. The HOA agreed the Space Station Program Action Plan should remain the basis for proceeding with selection of a Station configuration.

The HOA agreed to meet in Moscow in mid-October to discuss specific Space Station implementation plans after taking into account NASA's Return to Flight Activities.

Appreciation was expressed for the strong support for the Space Station Program by all partner agencies, and in particular by the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, for resolutely providing for continuing human presence on the Station after the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her courageous crew.

The International Space Station partnership looks forward to continuing critical Russian support for general Station operations, logistics, crew transportation and rescue capability until the Space Shuttle returns to flight. The partners expressed great enthusiasm for NASA's Return to Flight, the timely resumption of Space Station assembly, and opportunities for enhanced use of this world-class research facility.


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