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  NASA crews to fly on Soyuz through 2017

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Author Topic:   NASA crews to fly on Soyuz through 2017
Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-03-2008 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Extends Contract with Russian Federal Space Agency

NASA has signed a $141 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation services planned through the spring of 2012.

The firm-fixed price extension covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, crew rescue, and landing of a long-duration mission for three station crew members. The crew members will launch on two Soyuz vehicles in the fall of 2011. They will land in the spring of 2012. The flights may be used to meet NASA's obligations to its international partners for transportation to and from the station.

The contract extension also provides for the two Soyuz flights to carry limited cargo to and from the station and dispose of trash. The cargo allowed per person is approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) launched to the station, approximately 37 pounds (17 kilograms) returned to Earth, and trash disposal of approximately 66 pounds (30 kilograms).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-09-2010 10:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Extends Contract with Russian Federal Space Agency

NASA has signed a $335 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation, rescue and related services in 2013 and 2014.

The firm-fixed price modification covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, crew rescue, and landing of a long-duration mission for six individual station crew members.

In this contract modification, space station crew members will launch on four Soyuz vehicles in 2013 and return on two vehicles in 2013 and two in 2014.

Under the contract modification, the Soyuz flights will carry limited cargo associated with crew transportation to and from the station, and disposal of trash. The cargo allowed per person is approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) launched to the station, approximately 37 pounds (17 kilograms) returned to Earth, and trash disposal of approximately 66 pounds (30 kilograms).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-14-2011 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Extends Crew Flight Contract With Russian Space Agency

NASA has signed a $753 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation, rescue and related services from 2014 through June 2016. The firm-fixed price modification covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, flight operations, landing and crew rescue of long-duration missions for 12 individual space station crew members.

NASA has efforts underway to develop an American-made commercial capability for crew transportation and rescue services to the station following this year's retirement of the space shuttle fleet. Agency Administrator Charles Bolden cited this week's Soyuz contract extension as a reminder of how critically important those efforts are.

"The president's 2012 budget request boosts funding for our partnership with the commercial space industry and prioritizes our efforts to ensure that American astronauts and the cargo they need are transported by American companies rather than continuing to outsource this work to foreign governments," Bolden said. "This new approach in getting our crews and cargo into orbit will create good jobs and expand opportunities for our American economy. If we are to win the future and out build our competitors, it's essential that we make this program a success."

NASA made Commercial Crew Development awards in 2010 to stimulate efforts within the private sector, encouraging them to develop and demonstrate human spaceflight capabilities. The agency anticipates these systems will be available by the middle of the decade.

These services will provide our primary transportation to and from the International Space Station for U.S., Canadian, European and Japanese astronauts. To ensure a smooth transition as this new capability is developed, Soyuz support will continue as a backup capability for about a year after commercial services begin.

With this contract modification, station crew members may launch on Soyuz vehicles during a 24-month period. The contract will provide for the launch of six people in calendar year 2014 and six more in 2015, as well as their return to Earth in the spring of 2016 after a six-month stay aboard the station. The extended contract ends June 30, 2016.

Under the contract modification, the Soyuz flights will carry limited cargo associated with crew transportation to and from the station, and assist with the disposal of trash. The cargo provided per Soyuz seat is approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) launched to the station, approximately 37 pounds (17 kilograms) returned to Earth and trash disposal of approximately 66 pounds (30 kilograms).

Delta7
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posted 03-14-2011 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do these slots include ones for CSA, ESA and JAXA? And if so, I'm curious as to why they do not negotiate separate agreements for their astronauts.

328KF
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posted 03-14-2011 09:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First $50 million per seat, then $55 million, now $63 million per seat. Of course the claim is that this is a reasonable adjustment for inflation.

We'd better hope as a country that these commercial providers can come through in a reasonable timeframe, and that there is no long-term issue with the new "digital" Soyuz.

issman1
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posted 03-14-2011 11:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Considering that Soyuz serves as both ferry and emergency escape vehicle, it's something the US has not had since the Apollo CM.

Space Shuttle could continue to ferry NASA, CSA, ESA and JAXA astronauts to ISS, but is no escape vehicle. Blame those in Congress for this disconcerting situation instead of the Russians.

capoetc
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posted 03-15-2011 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Blame those in Congress for this disconcerting situation instead of the Russians.
For once, issman1, I agree with you. The US has placed itself in a situation where it is beholden to the Russians for access to the ISS. I don't blame the Russians for getting as much as they can.

However, it makes me tempted to tell the Russians, "Forget it. You can have the ISS. We'll concentrate our resources on our own program."

Not going to happen (not only because we won't do it but because it would be unfair to our other international partners), but we have made this bed and now we must lie in it.

ilbasso
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posted 03-15-2011 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing to consider is that the average cost of a single space shuttle mission is $450 million. The $753 million we are paying to Russia to access the ISS through 2016 is a lot of money, but less than the cost of two shuttle missions.

BNorton
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posted 03-15-2011 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BNorton   Click Here to Email BNorton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
One thing to consider is that the average cost of a single space shuttle mission is $450 million.

Using your number for the cost of a shuttle flight, which flies a crew of 7 to the station, and the above figure of $63 million per seat on Soyuz, the cost of flying the shuttle crew of 7 using Soyuz is approximately $441 million, a “savings” of $9 million. Flying in the Soyuz, with flight to the station being somewhat of a hardship due to its less than spacious accommodations, does not offer the payload capability – both up and down – of the shuttle.

Similar cost comparisons could be made with the proposed SpaceX capsule. That is, while one could have an endless debate on the actual cost of flying the shuttle vs. using other vehicles, the savings are not as large as one would believe when considering the considerable loss of capability.

The cost to orbit will remain high, regardless of the carrier, for the foreseeable future.

328KF
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posted 03-15-2011 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Blame those in Congress for this disconcerting situation instead of the Russians.
The clear intent of my post (I thought) was to point out this very failure, in addition to the fact that the U.S. has now put itself in the position of having the Russians hold the only keys to the space station. This advantage now allows them to command any price they want until we have our own capability, and that price is obviously going up.

Congress has been left to pick up the pieces of what two administrations have allowed to happen, so pointing a finger there is not appropriate. We should have never allowed the discontinuation of one mode of transportation before another was tested and in place.

Pointing out that Soyuz is a better capability is erroneous. From a lifeboat standpoint, yes, it is on the station long term and fills that role. But in the upmass and as importantly downmass abilities, it is no space shuttle.

Rick Boos
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posted 01-23-2012 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Question, how can one justify paying the Russians 50 to 63 million dollars per seat to launch into space? Anyone have any figures per seat for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the shuttle?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 01-23-2012 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Granted it was a discounted rate, but if you had a satellite on the shuttle (pre-Challenger), couldn't you also fly a payload specialist for an additional $80,000? Of course, that doesn't include the cost of launching said satellite.

And spaceflight participants pay between 20 and 30 million dollars. Maybe NASA should disband and declare its astronauts spaceflight participants and get the cheaper rate.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-23-2012 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hart Sastrowardoyo:
And spaceflight participants pay between 20 and 30 million dollars.
The most recent cost per seat for spaceflight participants is about $50 million, according to Space Adventures.

capoetc
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posted 01-24-2012 07:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
Question, how can one justify paying the Russians 50 to 63 million dollars per seat to launch into space? Anyone have any figures per seat for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the shuttle?
Simple — at this point, there simply are no other options.

Costs per seat on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo could be calculated, but you would have to agree in advance on what you would include. Are you only going to count the cost of the vehicle itself? The vehicle plus all support costs? The vehicle, plus support costs, plus developmental costs? The list could go on and on.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2013 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Extends Crew Flight Contract with Russian Space Agency

NASA has signed a $424 million modification to its contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) for full crew transportation services to the International Space Station in 2016 with return and rescue services extending through June 2017.

NASA is facilitating development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the space station and low-Earth orbit beginning in 2017. This modification to the Roscosmos contract will ensure continued U.S. presence aboard the space station as NASA prepares for commercial crew providers to begin those transportation operations.

NASA is committed to launching U.S. astronauts aboard domestic spacecraft as soon as possible. Full funding of the administration's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request is critical to making these domestic capabilities possible by 2017.

This firm-fixed price modification covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, flight operations, landing and rescue of six space station crew members on long-duration missions. It also includes additional launch site support, which was provided previously under a separate contract. The modification will allow for a lead time of about three years Roscosmos needs to build additional Soyuz vehicles. These services will provide transportation to and from the International Space Station for U.S., and Canadian, European or Japanese astronauts.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2013 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's comments about this contract extension:
NASA is committed to launching our astronauts on American spacecraft from U.S. soil as soon as possible. Since the end of our Space Shuttle Program in 2011, NASA has relied on the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) for the launch and safe return of astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard its Soyuz spacecraft. While our Russian counterparts have been good partners, it is unacceptable that we don't currently have an American capability to launch our own astronauts.

That’s why the Obama Administration has placed such a high priority on correcting this situation. Three years ago, the Administration put forward a public-private partnership plan, the Commercial Crew Program (CCP), to ensure that American companies would be launching our astronauts from U.S. soil by 2015. It's a plan that supports the U.S. human spaceflight program, boosts our economy, and helps create good-paying American jobs. If NASA had received the President's requested funding for this plan, we would not have been forced to recently sign a new contract with Roscosmos for Soyuz transportation flights.

Because the funding for the President's plan has been significantly reduced, we now won’t be able to support American launches until 2017. Even this delayed availability will be in question if Congress does not fully support the President's fiscal year 2014 request for our Commercial Crew Program, forcing us once again to extend our contract with the Russians. Further delays in our Commercial Crew Program and its impact on our human spaceflight program are unacceptable. That’s why we need the full $821 million the President has requested in next year’s budget to keep us on track to meet our 2017 deadline and bring these launches back to the United States.

I am pleased with the progress our commercial crew providers are making. We now have an American company resupplying cargo to the ISS -- launching from U.S. soil -- and another company on track to join in this competition. I'm confident that our ambitious plan for U.S. crew transportation, if fully funded, will allow U.S. commercial companies to launch our astronauts in just a few short years.

I'm bullish on the American aerospace industry, and I'm committed to gaining the support of the U.S. Congress to fully fund our investments in these companies and bring untold benefits to our economy.

328KF
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posted 04-30-2013 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
First $50 million per seat, then $55 million, now $63 million per seat.
And now $ 71.7 million per seat... with the possibility left open that we might have to buy more (no doubt at an even higher price).

What an embarrassment.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2013 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The new contract folds in additional support services that were earlier covered in a separate agreement (per NASA), so it is not clear how much (if at all) the per seat price has increased.

328KF
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posted 04-30-2013 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think it really matters which particular shell you hide it under when all of the shells are in Russia.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-30-2013 09:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is embarrassing if we treat the International Space Station as an every-nation-for-itself space station.

But we pay to use (mostly through barter) the Canadarm2 and Columbus and Kibo laboratories, too. And the other nations pay the U.S. (again, mostly through barter) for the use of our on-orbit assets.

328KF
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posted 04-30-2013 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fact that it is indeed an international effort is not in the least a condition to measure my level of embarrassment.

The station was largely built and maintained early on by a U.S. based launch capability, one which had great benefits to the country and it's highly skilled engineers, technicians, and associated support personnel. The infrastructure which gave birth to the ISS was critical to this nation's economy, pride, and prestige.

Today, after our elected leaders have made poor decision after poor decision, we have nothing but a struggling commercial launch industry which gets left underfunded because the politicians can't get beyond their political ideologies. Who does this hand all the leverage to? Certainly not American industry, the American worker, or American students considering a career in the STEM fields who will make up the next generation of space professionals.

The leverage belongs to the only other partner in the operation who has a manned launch capability, and they will continue to exploit this advantage until the game changes. Unfortunately, the more this gets put off by under prioritizing, the closer to the end of the ISS's service life we get. At some point, the potential return on investment for commercial crew will not make it worth doing. And we just keep putting it off.

There is no comparison between this six year (or likely longer) gap and that between ASTP and STS-1. The simple fact is that during that hiatus there was no destination, no pressing need, for a launch capability to deliver crew and supplies anywhere. Those years could have become a decade and today it would be forgotten.

With an $8 million increase over the last agreement, that would put the next round of seats at roughly $80 million per astronaut, but I see no reason why the Russians wouldn't demand far more than that.

Instead of having a six or eight seat U.S. spacecraft shuttling astronauts to and from, we are left not to barter, but to negotiate price for single seats being competed for by other countries and various celebrities and billionaires going on joyrides.

This is not what was envisioned when ISS was conceived. If someone would have said, "We're going to build this with the U.S. shuttle, then park it and turn over exclusive access to the facility to another partner", no one in Washington would have supported it. Today, I know of only a handful of politicians who give more than a passing thought to the program.

Even when (if?) we do get a commercial crew spacecraft flying from U.S. soil, I'm sure I won't be the only American looking back at these years with a measure of embarrassment, and wondering what could have been if we could have gotten our act together.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-01-2013 03:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I disagree that the status quo has changed. The Soyuz has been the crew transfer and rescue vehicle since the start of the space station program, shuttle or no shuttle.

I agree that U.S. commercial crew is better to arrive sooner than later, though for different reasons than have been cited. I disagree that there is a point of diminished return; there will always be a desire for low Earth orbit access, whether for public or private interests. But even after it is introduced, there will still be a value in retaining use of the Soyuz.

I disagree that for the space station to be a worthwhile endeavor that it must benefit the United States first, or more so than other countries. I agree that other Americans may think differently, but that doesn't necessarily mean their opinion is correct or right.

I agree that political ideologies are standing in the way of progress, but I would suggest that some of those ideologies are embedded within the perspective laid out above.

cspg
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posted 05-01-2013 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
There is no comparison between this six year (or likely longer) gap and that between ASTP and STS-1. The simple fact is that during that hiatus there was no destination, no pressing need, for a launch capability to deliver crew and supplies anywhere.

Skylab was still in orbit from 1975 to 1979. Saturn IB could have delivered crews and supplies and even a re-boost until the shuttle. Someone decided not to.

cspg
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posted 05-01-2013 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
This is not what was envisioned when ISS was conceived. If someone would have said, "We're going to build this with the U.S. shuttle, then park it and turn over exclusive access to the facility to another partner", no one in Washington would have supported it. Today, I know of only a handful of politicians who give more than a passing thought to the program.

The ISS was envisioned to be built only with the shuttle (Administrator Truly wouldn't budge on that if I recall), but no one in Washington supported it.

The real question may be whether maintaining an orbital outpost is an absolute necessity and whether the money couldn't be used on other programs which would be the foundation of the future of exploration. Should the ISS fail for some technical reason, the Russians would lose their monopoly and the fledgling US commercial industry would have no destination to go to.

328KF
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posted 05-01-2013 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This article puts a finer point on the issue of where we may be heading with the ISS program unless something changes soon.
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.

"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.

I have also read elsewhere that the budget shortfall from the underfunding is roughly equal to the $424 million being sent to Roscosmos for the purchase of the seats.

Now where is the sense in that?

328KF
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posted 05-01-2013 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
Skylab was still in orbit from 1975 to 1979. Saturn IB could have delivered crews and supplies and even a re-boost until the shuttle. Someone decided not to.
Very true, but there was no critical demand to get there. It wasn't manned by astronauts needing supplies or replacements on the scale that ISS does, and did not represent the enormous investment we have now. Early plans were to reboost it and buy it time on STS-3. When it reentered in '79, there was no longer a target, and the shuttle didn't fly for two more years.

328KF
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posted 05-01-2013 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
Should the ISS fail for some technical reason, the Russians would lose their monopoly and the fledgling US commercial industry would have no destination to go to.
I have made this exact same argument in previous discussions here. Right now, the market for commercial crew is ISS. I am not at all convinced that there is a workable business model for these companies beyond that.

If NASA is forced by further cuts to downsize to considering one provider for crew services, most of the competitors will likely stop development (Boeing being a ?).

But in a larger sense, the loss of ISS due to some catastrophic or crippling failure would really give the politicians cold feet about funding future deep space exploration programs.

SkyMan1958
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posted 05-01-2013 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all due respect, in my opinion the ISS was nothing more than a work program from the get go. It allowed politicians in the U.S. to send money to their constituencies, e.g. Boeing, etc. Also, again in my opinion, the Russian participation was a political decision at the highest U.S. political level to have a work program for the ex-Soviet rocket builders so that the workers would not go out and seek jobs where they would transfer technology to Third World countries that the U.S. did not like.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-01-2013 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mercury, Gemini and Apollo were also more about international politics and jobs than they were about exploration and science, and yet they advanced both — as does the International Space Station.

In the long run it doesn't matter why Congress supported the space station. As the government has consistently demonstrated, it either does not understand or is hostile toward the cause of advancing science. If jobs and national security sold Congress on the benefits of a space station, so be it.

quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
...to have a work program for the ex-Soviet rocket builders
If that was the prevailing interest, than it should still hold true and there should be no objections from Congress about paying the Russians for seats on the Soyuz...

328KF
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posted 05-01-2013 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
the Russian participation was a political decision at the highest U.S. political level to have a work program for the ex-Soviet rocket builders so that the workers would not go out and seek jobs where they would transfer technology to Third World countries that the U.S. did not like.
Thinking about this topic for the last day or so, I pulled a book off of my shelf written by James Oberg in 2002, Star Crossed Orbits. In it, Chapter 5, Origins of the Partnership, Oberg's research led him to a senior astronaut who said:
"The entire concept of ISS with the Russians was from the outset a foreign policy decision."
Oberg goes on to conclude:
In July 1993, India became one of the five states (including China) in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which was intended to prevent the spread of missile technology to Third World countries. The Russians agreed to stop exporting cryogenic manufacturing technology to India.

The Russians told the White House that the loss of the Indian deal would cost them several hundred million dollars (other observers considered that number highly inflated). By mid-1993, the directive was clear: The United States had to propose a space agreement that was worth the same amount.

U.S. diplomats insisted that there was no link between Russia's cancellation of the deal and it's acceptance of a U.S. space deal with equal dollar value, but they did admit that "things came together conveniently." The price tag of $400 million for the Mir visits alone was otherwise inexplicable. Russian officials valued the deal at about the same amount.

I wish I could quote the entire chapter here, but suffice to say, if you have the book handy, read this chapter and you will readily see the similarities to what is happening today, all these years later. One has to wonder, if we don't have $424 million to spend on commercial crew development, then how are we able to pay the same amount to Russia for a replacement ride?

I will disagree with Robert in that it does matter why Congress initially supported the ISS (assuming that it was only about national security and jobs). If that were the prevailing interest, then Congress should have plenty of objections about sending the U.S. taxpayers' money to support Russian jobs, rather than those of the people they represent.

328KF
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posted 05-03-2013 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Michael Lopez-Alegria Statement on NASA Contract Extension with Roscosmos

“It is disheartening that we must continue to rely on increasingly expensive Russian vehicles to take our astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA’s commercial cargo program, undertaken in partnership with Orbital Sciences and SpaceX, has been highly successful in creating reliable, cost-effective American cargo delivery to the ISS, and we support NASA’s continued and vigorous work on the follow-on Commercial Crew Program. Unfortunately, limited funding has delayed this program in the past and we strongly urge Congress to provide the necessary appropriations to keep the program on schedule. In difficult economic times, extending the offshoring of American jobs to Russian rocket companies is not a practice the American taxpayers should support.”

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
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posted 05-03-2013 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last time I checked Orbital Sciences and SpaceX have not shown any capability to launch and safely recover an astronaut, at the price the Russians charge.

I would have preferred to read that "relying on only one source of launch capability - putting all our eggs in one basket - is not what Challenger taught us."

On another note, since the Russians are demanding more per seat, is it due to the fact that they indeed have a monopoly or because exchange rates Dollar/Ruble has been affected by the US printing money to pay for the national debt? Any economist on this forum?

328KF
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Posts: 887
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Registered: Apr 2008

posted 05-03-2013 08:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
I would have preferred to read that "relying on only one source of launch capability - putting all our eggs in one basket - is not what Challenger taught us."
Perhaps not in those exact words, but a valid point to make. We have seen in past years problems with boosters and with Soyuz itself which led to some concern over whether we could safely continue flying U.S. crewmembers on them.

Delta7
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Posts: 1213
From: Ossian IN USA
Registered: Oct 2007

posted 03-24-2014 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the current agreement when is the last Soyuz seat for an American astronaut to the ISS? I know it runs to at least the end of 2016, but does it extend into 2017?

And is there a hard date for the CCV, whichever one is chosen, to start transporting crew members to the station? And if not, what is the likelihood of another agreement that will make Soyuz seats available until the CCV starts flying?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29256
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-24-2014 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As noted above, NASA's agreement with Roscosmos previously extended through mid-2017. In January, NASA announced it was seeking to extend that contract to the end of 2017, with the final flight returning astronauts to Earth in early 2018.

At present, NASA expects the first crewed commercial demonstration flight to the International Space Station to occur in the fall of 2017. Later this year (by August), NASA will select the company or companies that will fly astronauts to the station.

SpaceX has stated recently that it intends to perform its own first crewed test flight of a Dragon spacecraft in 2015. Sierra Nevada has scheduled an unmanned test flight of its Dream Chaser in 2016. Boeing has said it intends to fly its CST-100 in 2016 as well.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29256
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-25-2014 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden earlier today blogged about Bringing Space Launches Back to America:
Later today, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson will liftoff towards the International Space Station, not from the Space Coast of Florida or some other American spaceport, but from Kazakhstan on a Russian spacecraft. And unfortunately, the plan put forward by the Obama Administration to address this situation has been stymied by some in Congress.

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle — a decision made in 2004 – the United States has been dependent on the Russians to get our astronauts to the International Space Station. Recognizing that this was unacceptable, President Obama has requested in NASA's budget more than $800 million each of the past 5 years to incentivize the American aerospace industry to build the spacecraft needed to launch our astronauts from American soil. Had this plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the United States next year. With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we're now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017.

Budgets are about choices. The choice moving forward is between fully funding the President's request to bring space launches back to American soil or continuing to send millions to the Russians. It's that simple. The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same...

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