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  Space chiefs ponder ISS transport problem, post-2015 future

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Author Topic:   Space chiefs ponder ISS transport problem, post-2015 future
LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 07-17-2008 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. loss of organic manned space access capability post-Shuttle retirement has brought together the chiefs of the major national/international space agencies to discuss transportation alternatives and impact on the future of ISS operations.
The heads of five agencies building the International Space Station staged talks here Thursday on tackling a looming transport problem for the ISS and gave positive signals for extending the orbital outpost's life beyond 2015.

The ISS will need extra transport for crew and freight to substitute for the US space shuttle, scheduled to be retired in 2010 when the ISS is completed.

A US replacement for the shuttle, a rocket-and-capsule system called Aries-Orion, is due to be operational around 2015.

The head of the Russian Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, told reporters that the United States and Russia will hold talks on beefing up flights by the Soviet-era workhorse, Soyuz, to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS between 2011 and 2014.

"By the end of this year or by the beginning of next year at the latest, the whole rationale for our cooperation will be laid out," Perminov told a press conference at European Space Agency (ESA) headquarters.

Possible shuttle substitutes for freight, mulled by the agency chiefs, are commercial operators as well as Japan's unmanned cargo ship, the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), due to be launched for the first time next year by its H-2 rocket, the Russian supply vessel Progress, and ESA's own cargo ship, which docked automatically with the ISS in March.

Scott Schneeweis

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