NASA intends to deliver itsastronauts to the International Space Station on the spacecraft Crew Dragon from SpaceX. It is still at the testing stage, and the unmanned launch is constantly being transferred - at first it was scheduled for January 7, but then it was postponed for March 2. There is a risk that by 2020 it will still not be ready for regular flights, so NASA decided to play it safe and buy two space stations on the ISS from Roscosmos.
It is extremely important for the agency to provide for allpossible situations, because after a year there may not be a single US representative on the space station. In July 2019, the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft will deliver Russian astronaut Alexander Skvortsov, American astronaut Andrew Morgan and Italian Luka Parmitano there. They will stay on the ISS for about six months, and at the end of December the last NASA astronauts will return to Earth. If by this time Crew Dragon is not ready, the agency will have nothing to deliver to its astronauts.
About the possibility of a problem has becomeknown last year - the ASAP aerospace safety team warned about this. According to her, NASA is extremely important to work together with the presidential administration and Congress, and to guarantee astronauts access to the ISS until the United States can send them on its own spacecraft.
According to the US state websiteprocurement of FedBizOpps, the NASA management already intends to buy two places from Roskosmos for their astronauts. They will be sent to the ISS inside the Soyuz spacecraft on different dates. The first astronaut will fly in the autumn of 2019, and the second in the spring of 2020. It is assumed that these two places will provide NASA with the presence of its astronauts at the station until Crew Dragon is ready for regular flights.
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