NASA will buy a place for its astronaut in the Russian Soyuz through a private firm

According to the informants of the resource The Verge, NASA plans to buy a place for its astronaut on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz through the Texas aerospace firm Axiom Space. It will be a backup for the United States in case the upcoming SpaceX launch encounters any technical problems: the agency prefers to proceed with caution.

NASA/ Joel Kowsky / Getty Images

NASA recently officially confirmed that it is considering buying a seat on the Soyuz spacecraft as a safety net to maintain the presence of American astronauts on the International Space Station. This is the second time NASA has acquired seats in a Russian spacecraft through a US private broker. The previous deal was concluded with Boeing in 2017 for five seats in Soyuz. This time, the deal is reportedly with Axiom, a start-up company that organizes private space flights. It is alleged that the terms of the agreement to purchase the site are still under negotiation and negotiations are private.

After the closure of the US shuttle program in 2011, NASA began to rely on Russian services to transport astronauts to the ISS. The agency began its commercial crew program after Roscosmos raised prices for seats in Soyuz to $ 90 million. Until recently Russia was the only option, but now the US has an alternative in the form of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, launched with the help of Falcon 9 rockets.

“The American company turned to NASA with a proposal that could meet the needs of the agencyNASA spokesman Josh Finch said in a statement to reporters regarding Axiom Space rumors. – But we cannot provide the name of the company, because NASA has not entered into any agreements regarding the purchase of the site, and this information is confidential for purchases. “

NASA has reportedly been in talks for several months with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to swap seats in the Crew Dragon or Boeing Starliner for additional seats on the Soyuz spacecraft, rather than buying them for money. NASA is said to have plans to launch Russian cosmonauts alongside American ones in the fall of 2021.

In 2020, NASA bought a seat in Soyuz from Russia for Kate Rubins for $ 90 million and agreed to deliver Russian cargo to the ISS. Now NASA wants to take part in the MS-18 mission on April 10, in which three Russian cosmonauts have already been registered. If the Axiom deal goes through, one of the crew members could lose their seat to the United States.

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