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[i]Kirk Shireman, NASA's deputy space station program manager, said April 18 the top risk facing the international project was the start of commercial crew transportation and the decision when to stop purchasing Soyuz seats and begin buying commercial rides.
"All of our top risks are budgetary now," Shireman told a NASA advisory committee. "We're very worried, from a budget standpoint, about commercial crew and Soyuz. Today, there is no budget for commercial crew and Soyuz."
"It's an expensive proposition to have an overlap between Soyuz and commercial crew," Shireman said. "Fundamentally, you're paying for a service on one side or the other that you're probably not going to use."
There is a three-year lead time for construction of Soyuz vehicles, forcing NASA to make decisions early.
[b]"We don't want to be in a situation where we can no longer have U.S. crew members on-board ISS because we didn't buy any more Soyuz and commercial crew isn't ready," Shireman said.[/b] [/i]
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