NASA plans to purchase additional space on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to send one astronaut to the ISS in the fall of 2020 and is in talks with Roscosmos on this issue, Department Chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday.
“To ensure the safe operation of the ISS due to the continuous presence of Americans on it before regular flights are provided, NASA is negotiating with the state Corporation Roscosmos to purchase one additional seat on the Soyuz for launch in the coming autumn,” Free News quoted Bridenstine as saying.
In December 2019, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin announced the decision to provide NASA with one seat each on the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with the launch in October 2020 and Soyuz MS-18 with the launch in April 2021.
This will allow the Agency to ensure that at least one American astronaut stays on the ISS until October 2021 in case of delays in the launch of new American crewed ships.
In the United States, new staffed spacecraft Crew Dragon (SpaceX) and Starliner (Boeing) have been developed to send astronauts to the ISS. The first test crewed flight of Crew Dragon to the ISS is scheduled for May 27.