NASA set to pay Russian space agency $90 MILLION for a seat on the Soyuz rocket to take a US astronaut to the ISS despite the SpaceX launch May 30
- NASA made a $90 million deal with Roscomos for a seat on a Russian rocket
- The seat is for astronaut Kate Rubins who will go to the ISS in October
- The deal was made on May 12 to assure NASA had a presence on teh ship
- This was before the successful NASA-SpaceX launch on May 30
NASA is set to pay the Russian space agency, Roscomos, $90 million to send one of its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) this fall.
The payment was negotiated two weeks before the initial mission of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched a team to the ISS from US soil – a feat that was set to end the need for purchasing seats on foreign rockets.
However, the deal was completed on May 12 and intended to ‘ensure the agency keeps its commitment for safe operations via a continuous US presence’ on the space ship until commercial crew vehicles became regular services.
The seat is for NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who will spend six-months on the ISS as a flight engineer and become a member of the Expedition 63/64 crew.
NASA is set to pay the Russian space agency, Roscomos, $90 million to send one of its astronauts to the International Space Station this fall. The seat is for NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who will spend six-months on the ISS
NASA and SpaceX joined forces with the goal of returning spaceflight back to US soil.
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley took off from Kennedy Space Center on May 30 inside the Crew Dragon capsule atop Falcon 9.
After 19 hours in space, the pair reached the ISS where they are now members of Expedition 63 Crew
The idea of the Launch America mission was to eliminate the need of foreign space agencies to send NASA astronauts to the ship.
The payment was negotiated two weeks before the initial mission of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 (pictured) launched a team to the ISS from US soil – a feat that was set to end the need for purchasing seats on foreign rockets
However, last fall NASA revealed it had plans to purchase at least one more Soyuz seat as a backup plan should the Falcon 9 launch experience any delays, SpaceNews reported.
In a media briefing after a visit to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, October 10, 2019 NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said ‘We need to make sure that we do not have a day where don’t have American astronauts on the International Space Station, so we will be continuing to work with Roscosmos, which is the space agency of Russia, to ensure that we do have American astronauts on the International Space Station as an insurance policy for commercial crew.’
If everything goes according to plan, we may not need additional Soyuz seats.’
‘But here’s something else we know: usually things don’t go according to plan when it comes to these new development capabilities.’
NASA had originally targeted 2017 for when commercial flights would begin, but both SpaceX and Boeing, which is also developing rockets for NASA, experienced numerous production delays.
Bridenstine, at the briefing, said the agency hadn’t decided if it would need yet another Soyuz seat, for a launch in spring of 2021. ‘We want to see the level of risk that we need to accept’ he said in referring to commercial vehicles like the Falcon 9.
‘When Demo-2 comes home and we evaluate how it did, and we’re looking at Crew-1, we’re going to look at where we are and then make a determination if we might need a second Soyuz [seat], and then begin negotiations at that point,’ he explained.
After 19 hours in space, Bob Behnken (second from right) and Doug Hurley (right) reached the ISS where they are now members of Expedition 63 Crew. The idea of the Launch America mission was to eliminate the need of foreign space agencies to send NASA astronauts to the ship
Rubins is set to launch October 14 on the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
She will conduct research using the Cold Atom Lab to study the use of laser-cooled atoms for future quantum sensors, and will work on a cardiovascular experiment that builds on an investigation she completed during her previous mission in 2016.
During her first stay on the space station, Rubins became the first person to sequence DNA in space.