Hugh Pickens writes: "BBC reports that the European Space Agency's (Esa) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain says that uncertainty is undermining the best use of the ISS and that only by guaranteeing the ISS's longevity would more scientists come forward to run experiments on the orbiting laboratory. "I am convinced that stopping the station in 2015 would be a mistake because we cannot attract the best scientists if we are telling them today 'you are welcome on the space station but you'd better be quick because in 2015 we close the shop'," says Dordain. One of the biggest issues holding up an agreement on station-life extension is the human spaceflight review ordered by US President Barack Obama and the future of US participation in the ISS is intimately tied to the outcome of that review. Dordain says that no one partner in the ISS project could unilaterally call an end to the platform and that a meeting would be held in Japan later in the year where he hoped the partners could get some clarity going forward. Dordain adds that there were many ideas on the table for reducing the cost of operating ISS. "First of all, we have four control centers — one in Houston, one in Oberpfaffenhofen, one in Moscow and one in Tsukuba — and these four control centers are working 24 hours a day. Question mark: Why can't we use only two of them for 12 hours and then the other two for 12 hours?""
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