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NASA plans to purchase additional seats for the Union



NASA is considering the acquisition of two additional seats on the Soyuz spacecraft to ensure a further US presence on the International Space Station, in light of concerns about additional delays in the operations of the commercial brigade.

he considered contracts with the Russian State Space Corporation Roskosmos for two sites, the Soyuz, one of which was launched in the fall of 2019, and the other in the spring of 2020. Initially the message was reported to NASASpaceFlight.com.

places will ensure that NASA's astronauts can stay at the station after the end of this year, when current NASA access to Soyuz sites will end. "This purchase of Soyuz seats provides uninterrupted access to the ISS in the event of a delay in the launch of American commercial crews, pose a significant risk to safety and operations of the ISS that the absence of US crew at any time"

NASA originally planned to have commercial crews developed by Boeing and SpaceX, certified by the end of 201

7. However, both companies suffered significant delays, and none of the companies flew out of their vehicles, let alone those with astronauts on board. SpaceX plans to launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft on a trial flight without astronauts on board no earlier than March 2.

NASA's latest public schedule requires both cars to complete test flights from the crew until the end of the summer. further delay. "Past experience has shown the difficulties associated with reaching the first flights on time in the last year of development. Typically, during these test flights, problems will be detected, says NASA in a procurement document. "The consequences of the American crew on the ISS do not guarantee protection by acquiring additional seats."

Two sites will provide NASA cosmonauts at the station by September 2020, after which the agency expects at least one of two commercial teams. vehicles must be certified and astronauts start to fly. Even if both vehicles are certified to this, NASA claims that the overlapping period between Soyuz and the commercial crew will be useful.

"Overlaying with an American commercial crew is necessary to ensure a smooth and safe transition to new US capabilities," the document testifies. "This overlap in the transport capability of the crew provides a guarantee of continued safe operation and research on the ISS." The last contract, signed in 2015, covered the seats of the Union in missions to the ISS until 2018. At that time NASA still expected that by the end of 2017, the vehicles of the commercial team would be put into operation.

In 2017, NASA agreed to buy the Alliance sits from Boeing, which received them under an agreement with RSC Energia to resolve the maritime launch legal dispute. Two places were used to increase the size of the NASA crew at the station in 2017 and 2018, while three were reserved for the carriage of crews at the ISS in 2019 as hedges against the delays of the commercial crew

. Two armchairs have become available. At the end of 2016, shortly before the purchase of seats from Boeing, NASA officials said it was too late for Roscosmos contracts for seats due to the many years required for execution. NASA representatives did not respond to a request for comments on February 15th regarding those places or estimated value that NASA will pay to Roscosmos.

Last Annual Report of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Group (ASAP), NASA Independent Advisory Council

"Because of the potential delays in the scheduled first flight [commercial crew program] with the crew, senior NASA leaders should work." with the Administration and the Congress, to ensure permanent access to the ISS for US crew members until the United States has created the ability to deliver the crew to the ISS, "the report published on February 8 said. NASA did not provide an official response to this recommendation when printing a report.


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