Tuesday, 17 January 2017

When leadership leaves, NASA quietly moves to buy more places of the Union

The commercial program of NASA opens a lot of prospect — development of private vehicles to transport people in low Earth orbit has to lower eventually expenses of space flight and expand access to space. But as it often happens to new development of spaceships, both the Boeing and SpaceX have faced technical problems with their capsules.
When leadership leaves, NASA quietly moves to buy more places of the Union

Publicly, NASA has maintained hope that at least one private vehicle, either Starliner of the Boeing or the Dragon of the SpaceX Team, would be capable to operational missions by the end of 2017 or at the beginning of 2018. But it doesn't seem indisputable any more — or it is even probable. Meanwhile NASA still has the International Space Station to support and has to receive it astronauts through the only possible means there. Back in 2015, expecting a delay with the commercial program of team, has bought NASA transportation by the spaceship of the Union of Russia till 2018. But it can be not rather long, the agency has solved.

Last September, based on anonymous sources, Ars has reported what NASA has begun to consider the buying occasional seats in 2019 as a barrier against further delays with the commercial program of team. Both the Administrator of NASA Charles Bolden and the agency head on human space flight, Bill Gerstenmaier, denied this report subsequently.
These contemptuous comments, despite this, new petition submitted to NASA on Tuesday show that the agency really seeks to buy Union places for 2019. The petition looks for the choice to buy three occasional seats of the Union in 2019 "as the main or reserve ability of transportation to guarantee appropriate intonation of start without intervals in transportation of rotation of team".

The petition arrives all three days before Bolden the champion of the commercial program of team who altercated with the Congress on financing, leaves a post. It seems probable that the notice is calculated thus which there still is time to construct Russia additional ability of start of the Union on 2019, also allowing the current leadership of NASA to bypass this politically intricate problem before to leave a post on January 20 when Donald Trump is inaugurated.

Undoubtedly, the Congress won't be positively predisposed to financing of requests for occasional Russian seats, especially because the price continues to raise. Starting with the decision to liquidate the shuttle in 2009, the Russian price for the place has flown up approximately from $30 million for a trip into an orbit to $81.9 million for each of six places of NASA, bought for 2018. It seems probable that the price for any places in 2019 would increase significantly, especially because NASA will provide less, than three years of time of implementation of the order, as usual for such orders.

It is more to 2017 places to year and 2018

The new inquiry of NASA also looks for three more places in 2017 and 2018. It is possible because Russia will reduce the presence at the space station within the next several years from three members of team in six months to two as it seeks to clean expenses. Reducing the number of her members of team, Russia will have to steer the smaller number of cargo vessels of Progress which deliver food and deliveries to the Russian side of the station.

This Russian decision will make three room for the next two years, and would like to buy NASA those trips to space, also, to increase team time for scientific research onboard the station. "Purchase of these services in 2017 and 2018 will increase the American size of command for the ISS with three to four members of team to maximize scientific use of the ISS", specifies the petition of NASA. "Increase in scientific use of the ISS is a program priority".

Occasional seats for NASA and the American partners wouldn't die till September of this year, meaning that Fiodor Yurchikhin and Jack Fischer will still depart as team two in March.

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