WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — NASA has awarded SpaceX an $843 million contract to build the vehicle that will bring the International Space Station out of its orbit when its usage ends in a few years.

SpaceX, a privately held company controlled by Elon Musk, will build the vehicle that will bring down the space station, but NASA will still oversee the eventual mission.

The International Space Station, launched in 1998, is expected to be needed to be brought out of orbit by 2030. The station is operated by space agencies from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada and Russia. All the countries involved have pledged to operate the station until 2030 except Russia, which has only committed to participate until 2028.

Astronaut crews from various countries have been occupying the space station on a rotating basis since 2000.

“The orbital laboratory remains a blueprint for science, exploration, and partnerships in space for the benefit of all,” said Ken Bowersox, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations mission directorate.

Musk founded SpaceX, a rocket maker based in Hawthorne, California, in 2002.

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