Tuesday, April 30, 2013

$70 million per seat: Russia charging NASA to fly

$70 million per seat: Russia charging NASA to fly, Russia is charging NASA $70 million per seat to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. According to The Washington Post on April 30, NASA is now paying Russia $424 million more, or over $70 million per seat, "well above the previous price tag of about $65 million."

The price includes flying to and from the ISS using Soyuz spacecraft and training for six astronauts. Russia is the sole provider of transport to and from the ISS currently. The current contract covers Americans, Japanese, Europeans, and Canadians too.

U.S. companies like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. are developing rockets to do the job, but will not be ready any time soon. Capability to send U.S. astronauts to the ISS ended in 2011 after the space shuttle program was retired. Russia increases the price for this service with each negotiation.

Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, blames congress denying his request for additional funding to cover a commercial space program. Bolden said "we now won’t be able to support American launches until 2017."

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