"This is a tremendous announcement for us here in the space station world," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. (Agencies)
USD 100 billion orbiting outpost has been operational for 15 years, and had been expected to remain open to global collaborators until 2020.
More than a dozen countries participate in the space station, which has more living space than a six-bedroom house and comes complete with Internet access, a gym, two bathrooms and a host of science experiments.
NASA said the entire lab is the length of a football field (357 feet, 109 meters).
The International Space Station is the largest space lab ever built, some four times bigger than Russian space station Mir and about five times as large as US Skylab.
Although it is near weightless in space, the space station has a mass of 419,455 kilograms. It is maintained by a rotating crew of six astronauts and cosmonauts from United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan.
"People love the International Space Station," said David Weaver, NASA's associate administrator for the Office of Communications.
He said this is the second time the life of the station had been extended under President Barack Obama’s administration.
"We need a longer planning horizon than we currently have," Weaver said.
Gerstenmaier said the decision to extend goes until at least 2024, and noted that ‘the hardware can last to 2028’.
"I think the idea is that 10 years from today is a pretty far-reaching, pretty strategic decision," he said.
"We have talked to the partners about this," he added.
"This is a tremendous announcement for us here in the space station world," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.