US and Russia will work together on International Space Station until 2030, despite tensions on Earth

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Bill Nelson, Nasa’s administrator, hailed the station as benefitting diplomacy as well as science, when he announced the funding.

“The International Space Station is a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration and for more than 20 years has returned enormous scientific, educational and technological developments to benefit humanity,” he said.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency, was more succinct when interviewed by CNN.

“This is a family, where a divorce within a station is not possible,” he said.

The funding deal comes at a time when China is being seen as an increasingly powerful rival in the space race.

There are plans for privately funded space stations from Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Nanoracks and Northrop Grumman.

But they are unlikely to be ready before the end of the decade, which is understood to be a factor behind the decision to extend the space station’s funding.

“There is a lot of money invested in the space station,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Centre, told The Telegraph.

“They don’t want to throw away the billions of dollars they have invested already.

“The space station will need replacing, but where will they get the money to do that this and the Artemis programme to send astronauts to the moon by 2025.”

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