NASA to Continue Flying Astronauts on Russian Soyuz: Report

NASA is likely to continue flying its astronauts about the Russian Soyuz vehicle even after US commercial crew vehicles arrive, media report said.

Yet, nothing has been signed formally however, an agency spokesperson said.

“Bill Gerstenmaier and senior NASA leadership have stated their intention to possess US crewmembers on Soyuz vehicles following 2019 and (to own ) Russians on US hybrids,” Stephanie Schierholz, that works in public affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington, was quoted as stating to Space.com on Tuesday.

Gerstenmaier is the associate administrator for individual exploration and operations for NASA.

The US space agency retired its space shuttle program in 2011 and has relied on Russian vehicles because then to go to the ISS.

The US space agency has an agreement with Russia to fly crews on Soyuz through at least 2019, and a number of those crewmembers are already declared, the report stated.

NASA has partnered with two commercial team providers – Boeing and SpaceX – to deliver vehicles for crews online.

While SpaceX announced its first uncrewed test flight of the Dragon individual spacecraft at 2019, Boeing is expected to launch its own uncrewed flight in the subsequent months. Once these vehicles are certified for flight, astronauts will ride them into the ISS.

In August, NASA revealed the names of nine US astronauts who will fly the first certification flights for Boeing’s Starliner along with SpaceX’s Dragon.

NASA explained these post-certification flights will soon be fully operational and will be regular, long-duration spinning assignments, just enjoy the assignments facilitated by Soyuz now, the report noted.

Schierholz added that having Russian and US vehicles flying simultaneously will provide”redundancy in team transport” to the ISS.