Saturday, January 07, 2006

NASA Renting Russian Rocket Ships? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: NASA Watch)

After grounding its own shuttle fleet because of safety issues, NASA (with approval from Congress) has decided to "rent" Soyuz rocket ships in order to send its astronauts into space.

(Reuters) Congress last year lifted a weapons proliferation ban so NASA could buy Russian space services. The ban was enacted after concerns that Russian technology was helping Iran develop its nuclear program.

NASA and Russia still have to work out a long-term agreement for Soyuz flights, said NASA spokeswoman Melissa Matthews, but the Russians have agreed to a fee of $21.8 million per astronaut through 2011.

Despite the jokes one may hear of using ancient Russian technology, the former USSR space technology has survived the test of time. Although these space ships are not particularly designed for human comfort, they are built to "get the job done," which has enabled Russia to market the Soyuz towards Japan.

(Reuters) NASA will make an initial payment of $43.8 million for the current space station commander, U.S. astronaut Bill McArthur, to fly home in March, as well as for the launch and landing of astronaut Jeffrey Williams, who was officially named on Thursday as a member of the next space station crew. [...]

The agreement with Russia will keep one seat aboard the Soyuz available for a tourist or paying researcher. So far, three businessmen -- Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth and Greg Olsen -- have paid a reported $20 million apiece for roundtrip travel to the space station.

Although Russia has squeezed an extra million dollars out of NASA compared to the private sector, Russia does seem intent on allowing space tourists to accompany astronauts towards the space station. NASA is currently designing new space shuttles (or rather rockets) that will enable the US to once again send American astronauts into space by themselves.

Want more space geek news? Then subscribe below via email, RSS or twitter for free updates!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Prefer another service? How about via RSS or follow Colony Worlds on Twitter!

No comments:

Post a Comment

You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

Note: You do not need a Blogger account in order to comment, but you do need to solve the universal puzzle below.