21May2016

NASA Charged $88 Million To Deliver Astronauts To Space

Heavy Carrier Rocket Launch. Realistic 3D Scene.

Heavy Carrier Rocket Launch. Realistic 3D Scene.

Russia has signed a contract with the United States to deliver six NASA astronauts aboard Russian-made Soyuz MS spacecraft to the International Space Station in 2018-2019.

This is according to a quarterly report released by Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation on Monday. Energiya Corporation is the producer of Russian spacecraft. According to the document, NASA will pay Russia 5.7 billion rubles ($88 million) for the delivery of NASA astronauts to the ISS and their return to the Earth. The deal was signed on January 27.

November 2019 is mentioned in the contract as the term of work completion. Formally, the deal will be approved at an annual meeting of Energiya’s shareholders. NASA earlier reported about extending its agreement with Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos on the delivery of US astronauts to the ISS aboard Soyuz spacecraft.

NASA didn’t specify the term, for which the additional agreement to the contract with Roscosmos was intended. It was reported that Russia would be paid an additional $490 million for these services. However, media reports earlier said this deal between the space agencies of Russia and the US was designed until the end of 2017.

But there’s good news for NASA, and for taxpayers — and for investors, too. NASA has had it up to here with paying exorbitant taxi fares to the Russians. And pretty soon, we’ll be sending our astronauts back to space on our own rocket ships, for much cheaper.

To the Moon, Alice! (Or at least to the ISS.)

Last month, NASA held a joint conference with its two contractors building a private commercial American “space taxi” service to the ISS — Boeing (NYSE:BA) and SpaceX. It’s dubbed the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability project, or CCtCap, and NASA’s plan is to pay Boeing $4.2 billion and SpaceX $2.6 billion to develop and operate a fleet of space taxis to shuttle astronauts to and from ISS.

If all goes well, NASA estimates that the cost of sending an astronaut to ISS in an American rocket ship will fall by 18% from what Roscosmos is charging — to as low as $58 million. But one presumes that this is an average of the cost of the two companies’ efforts.

Given that Boeing is charging NASA 61% more to send astronauts to ISS in its CST-100 capsule than SpaceX bid for its Dragon V2 capsule, it’s entirely possible that some “tickets” to ISS could be even cheaper than the $58 million average.  Source: TASS: Science & Space

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