As the conditions between the United States and Russia are worsening day by day, and now the Russians plan on leaving NASA on the ground. More specifically, Russia plans to stop flying US astronauts to the ISS as soon as the contract between the two nations expires in just a few months.
The NASA’s situation is tough, even more under this new perspective, as both Boeing and SpaceX, which are the best hopes for the US space agency to fly astronauts to space independent from Russia, are going to commence their first crewed test flights in 2019. As we already know, SpaceX will conduct its first crewed test flight in April 2019, precisely when the contract between NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, will end.
Russia is currently having the monopoly on ferrying astronauts to ISS
In addition to the United States, all the other space agencies around the world rely on Russia’s Roscosmos to fly their astronauts to the International Space Station. In other words, Russia is having the monopoly on carrying astronauts to ISS with its Soyuz rockets and space capsules.
Of course, this agreement with the Russians is very costly for NASA and other space agencies, as well. That because a single seat on a Soyuz rocket costs approximately $80 million.
On the other hand, NASA considers Soyuz rockets are not safe enough for the missions they carry. In fact, we have an excellent example for that in the recent leak on the ISS caused by a hole in the hull of the Soyuz rocket docked to one of the station’s modules.
Russia plans to stop flying US astronauts to the International Space Station
The United States ended sending astronauts to the ISS since the close of the Space Shuttle Program on July 21, 2011. Since then, the Americans relied on Russians to fly their astronauts to the International Space Station.
Now, unfortunately, Russia plans to stop flying US astronauts to the ISS due to the tensioned political and economic relationships between the two nations. The Russians decision is mounting pressure on NASA which has to struggle and increase its efforts to bring the United States back into space with new and performant rockets and capsules capable of ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.