NASA To Pay $450 Million Extra Per Year For Russian Soyuz Rides
October 21, 2011

NASA To Pay $450 Million Extra Per Year For Russian Soyuz Rides

NASA's deputy administrator said on Thursday that the U.S. will spend $450 million for the extra year of buying rides aboard Russia's Soyuz rockets.

NASA is now dependent on Russia to take its astronauts to the International Space Station since it retired its space shuttle program this summer.

Russia charges over $50 million per person for a ride aboard its Soyuz rocket.  However, despite the seemingly high cost paid to the Russians, NASA said on its website that it spent about $450 million per mission using the space shuttle program.

Not only did the program rack in per trip what NASA would spend every year on Soyuz rides, the space shuttle Endeavour cost about $1.7 billion to make.

NASA has spent $388 million to help develop the commercial space industry for the future of space travel.

The agency is providing another $800 million for unmanned, cargo-carrying spacecraft provided by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp.

NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver said at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight that the U.S. ability to stop buying rides from Russia in 2016 is at risk.

"One additional year of buying this service from the Russians will cost the United States about $450 million," Garver said at the event.

"If you take the Senate ($500 million) mark, take it up $350 million, giving it to U.S. companies today to get to our requested amount, it gives us the best chance to be able to replace this foreign government service by 2016. That's the choice," she said.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report released in January 2011, the commercial space transportation and related industries generated over $208 billion of economic activity and over $53 billion in profits in the U.S. in 2009.


On the Net: