A Soyuz shuttle transporting three astronauts to the ISS is ready for its liftoff. The event will mark the end of NASA’s dependence on Russian spacecraft for crewed space flights. It might also mark the comeback of human spaceflight to the US.
But NASA said that its future is still uncertain. So, we might witness American astronauts flying to space in Soyuz capsules in the future. For the first time in almost a decade, NASA got options for sending astronauts to space.
NASA Might Call it Quits With the Russian Space Agency
Since NASA dismissed its space shuttle program back in 2011, the Rusian space agency was the only one that got its back. According to a NASA spokesperson, astronaut Chris Cassidy’s seat was the last one the space agency has bought from Roscosmos. A seat in a Soyuz shuttle costs $86 million. It’s an increase of approximately 400 % over about 20 years.
NASA could save a lot of money if it brings launches back to the US. Comparatively, a seat on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule is only $55 million, while Boeing’s Starliner capsule is almost $90 million.
Recently, NASA teamed up with SpaceX, and depending on their work, the future of US spaceflight might change. SpaceX is getting ready for its first crewed NASA mission to the ISS, which it could liftoff by the end of May. Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken might bring the success NASA needs so much.
Boeing, too, has contracted NASA for human spaceflights. Unfortunately, its program was postponed for a few months after it got troubled by lots of errors. But that doesn’t mean Boeing could not be what the US space agency also needs. “Once NASA certifies SpaceX and Boeing spacecraft, NASA expects to work with Roscosmos and international partners to continue to fly mixed crews,” according to NASA officials.