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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  Space station and Soyuz flight schedules

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Author Topic:   Space station and Soyuz flight schedules
englau
Member

Posts: 97
From: tampa, florida, usa
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 05-28-2012 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for englau   Click Here to Email englau     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope I don't sound too unaware by asking this question, but since we are no longer using space shuttles, how do we get the entire crew of six to the station in September? I'm not sure about the logistics. How many Americans do we send up per Soyuz and how close together do we send them up in order to achieve the goal?

I heard this statistic and was hoping someone could shed some light on the validity. A retired astronaut told me that we were paying the Russians 60 million per seat on the Soyuz and for the price we are paying to the Russians we could send up about two shuttles per year (while giving more jobs back to Americans). Truth? Stretched? Let me know what you think.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-28-2012 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Three-person Soyuz crews launch about every three months. NASA publishes expedition crew and launch schedules.

Each three-person Soyuz crew spans two expeditions crews.

So, for example, Soyuz TMA-05M will launch with Yuri Malenchenko (Roscosmos), Sunita Williams (NASA) and Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) in July. They will arrive on the station and join the Expedition 32 crew and then stay through the first three months of Expedition 33, when they'll leave and be replaced by another three person Soyuz crew.

NASA has a contract with Roscosmos to fly its crew members through 2016 for $63 million per seat. Thus far, the Soyuz crews that have been announced include one NASA astronaut each.

That means, at any given time, there are two U.S. astronauts on the International Space Station.

As for the shuttle, the estimated launch costs were about $450 million per mission, and that doesn't take into consideration the facilities and manufacturing costs that would have been required to keep the program running.

KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 05-28-2012 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We started buying seats on the Soyuz ever since we lost Columbia. Even at current pricing, which was increased when we handed the Russians a monopoly, it would take six Soyuz launches to equal the cost of one shuttle launch.

The main difference being that we get one seat on a Soyuz but at least six on the shuttle.

Constellation was never given a chance to succeed because neither the White House, Congress or NASA fought for the funds necessary to fly out the shuttle manifest AND concurrently build up the Constellation vehicles. Both parties are to blame for that.

The Expedition crews are sent up three at a time. About three months apart. This way there are always three veterans ready to help the three new guys get up to speed. This won't change until crews fly on one of the commercial vehicles.

There's an impressive American space race going on. Tell your representative to fully fund commercial crew. Let the best team win.

englau
Member

Posts: 97
From: tampa, florida, usa
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 05-28-2012 11:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for englau   Click Here to Email englau     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much to both of you for taking the time to explain and clarify those points for me.

In your personal opinion, do you view our reliance on Roscosmos at this time to be better or worse than if we were to continue sending shuttles up in our current economy? Taking in such factors as American job growth, time, economics, safety, etc.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-29-2012 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In a perfect world, the nation would have funded the continuation of the space shuttle program as well as the full budget needed to develop the new vehicles under construction now. But that was never going to happen.

So long as there was a desire to see astronauts move beyond low Earth orbit, the shuttle program had to come an end, if for no other reason than to free up the funds for the new program.

In that sense, we should be grateful that the Russians are our partners and that the Soyuz was available to continue launching U.S. astronauts or we would have been facing a gap with no human spaceflight activity, much like the six years between the end of Apollo and the beginning of space shuttle.

There was also a safety concern when it came to shuttle, which may have made it more expensive to fly in the outgoing years as a result of increased precautionary inspections and re-certifications. But that is an aside to the pressing need for a new, exploration-capable vehicle.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 05-29-2012 08:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
We started buying seats on the Soyuz ever since we lost Columbia.
We were buying seats before the loss of Columbia. Even with the shuttle, the US was buying Soyuz for use as a CRV.

music_space
Member

Posts: 1050
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 05-29-2012 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We also bought Soyuz seats during what was dubbed as "Phase One" of the ISS, where NASA sent Americans to the Mir space station.

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