Next spring the Russian cosmonaut may for the first time fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on the American Crew Dragon Ilona Mask. This opinion was expressed by Katie Luders, Head of NASA Manned Flights Directorate.
At the moment Roscosmos and NASA are discussing a barter scheme, according to which the Americans will continue to fly on the ISS in exchange for Russian astronauts’ flights on U.S. ships. NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins’ flight on Soyuz MS-17, which arrived at the ISS in October, was the last one when the seat on Soyuz was sold to the Americans.
According to the specialized website Space flight now with reference to Cathy Luders, NASA has submitted a working agreement on a barter scheme for approval by the U.S. State Department. After that, she said, a similar process is expected in the Russian government.
“We were hoping to be able to do something by spring (2021), but I think it will probably be at the end of summer, around the time of the flight Crew-3 (the third regular flight of the ship Crew Dragon). That’s what we’re aiming for now,” said Luders.
EADaily reminds: according to NASA, since 2006, the U.S. purchased 72 seats in the ship “Soyuz” from Russia for more than $ 4 billion to deliver American, European, Canadian, and Japanese astronauts to the station and back to Earth. During this time the flight cost for them increased from $20 to $90 million.
On the eve of November 15, the Falcon 9 launch vehicle with manned Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched to the ISS from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral. The crew of Crew Crew Dragon named Resilience includes Americans Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as astronauts of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi.
Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with ISS on Monday at 23.00 U.S. East Coast time (07.00 Moscow time on Tuesday).
The team will spend six months in orbit. Now onboard the stations are astronauts Roscosmos Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud’ Crickets, as well as NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins.
The launch of Crew Dragon was the first manned flight in nine years carried out from the territory of the United States on the American spacecraft. NASA stopped them in 2011. Since then, the astronauts were delivered to the ISS by Russian “Soyuz”.