General, Research, Technology

NASA: Russia will be able to send its astronauts into space on Crew Dragon

After the successful launch of the SpaceX CrewDragon with American astronauts and its docking with the ISS, NASA aerospace agency was noticeably inspired by the idea of ​​sending astronauts into space on their own, as it was before 2011 (and the closure of the Space Shuttle program). Since then, the United States has bought seats for its astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft - and although the cost of such a flight reached $ 90 million, it was still cheaper than the Shuttle launches from American land. Now NASA will be able to refuse Russian space services, but in addition, the agency expects that Russia will also fly into space on SpaceX ships.

Soyuz rocket with the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft

As the representative of NASA Stephanie Schierholz told Forbes, now the American aerospace agency is in talks with Roskosmosso that later SpaceX will launch into spaceships not only with American astronauts, but also with Russian astronauts. According to her, it may become unprofitable for Russia to launch Unions after NASA abandons them.

How much NASA pays Russia for space flight

One place in the "Union" cost the United States in 90 million dollarsthat supposedly allowed Russia to launch its astronauts into space almost for free. This amount paid off all the costs of manufacturing a ship, a rocket and preparing for a flight.

Despite the fact that NASA Already have the opportunity to send astronauts theirforces with the help of SpaceX, in the fall of 2020, the agency will still use the Russian Soyuz for the flight of its cosmonaut Kate Rubins to the ISS. However, this flight may be the last in space relations between the USA and Russia. In the future, NASA expects that Russia will already buy seats on Crew Dragon to send its astronauts to the ISS. Allegedly, it will be cheaper than launching the Soyuz only for Russian purposes. During the collaboration between NASA and Roskosmos, the United States paid Russia about $ 4 billion. If at first the flight cost for one American astronaut (round trip) was $ 21 million, then it gradually increased to $ 90 million.

One of our @NASA_Astronauts Dr. Kate Rubins will be heading to the @Space_Station in the fall.

This will be Dr. Rubins ’second spaceflight. During her first, she helped advance important research and became the first person to sequence DNA in space: https://t.co/62VB9k1s2w pic.twitter.com/A80JpgAzDp

- NASA (@NASA) June 3, 2020

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New launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon

In August 2020, NASA plans againlaunch Crew Dragon to the ISS - SpaceX wants to reuse the spent stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, with which it made its first manned space flight. There will be three American astronauts and one Japanese on board: the remaining seats will be used to send 100 kilograms of cargo to the ISS. Therefore, in the fall, Kate Rubins will fly with Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov.

Kate Rubins (left)

Perhaps Roskosmos in the future will really beCollaborate with NASA and SpaceX to send their astronauts into space. It’s good when you can reach your destination with the help of several airlines, and not just one - here the meaning is the same. If everything goes as planned, launches into space will be able to produce Roscosmos, SpaceX and Boeing on the Starliner ship. True, so far the Boeing is not going as smoothly as the company Elon Mask: in 2018 the company tested the Starliner engines, and the ship's engines worked as expected, but soon after they turned off, an “anomaly” occurred that led to a fuel leak . As it turned out later, the problem was in the fuel supply valves - they turned out to be defective and could not completely close. This forced Boeing to postpone the originally planned spacecraft test launches to a later date.

After the scandals with Boeing 737 Max many were worried that such a companyinvolved in the development of space programs, but then everyone was reassured that these are two completely unrelated units. However, the incident with the Starliner makes us think that the creation of software for airplanes and spaceships in Boeing is in no way connected.

Russian space program

But Russia is unlikely to give upown space program. Firstly, she is already quite a few years old, and considerable money has been spent on the development of the Unions, including with the prospect of several years in advance. In addition, for any country, the availability of its own space program is a strong advantage over the others, this reinforces its credibility in the international arena. Moreover, there are doubts that NASA will set a lower price for Russian cosmonauts than it is now paying for its astronauts. Therefore, the benefit of such flights for Roscosmos, in comparison with the launches of Soyuz, remains in question.