Rogozin: Russia and U.S. to use both countrys’ manned capsules to ISS


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According to statements made today by Roscosmos head Dmitri Rogozin, Russia and the United States now plan to send their astronauts to ISS using both the Russian and American capsules.

“We agreed with the NASA leadership to preserve our agreements and principles of cooperation. Astronauts will fly on board Soyuz, and we will use US spacecraft,” he said, adding that US spacecraft will need to get certification first.

According to the Roscosmos head, this will create an alternative in manned space missions to the International Space Station.

This suggests that once the U.S. commercial capsules are operational the two countries will return to the situation that existed when the shuttle was flying, with Americans sometimes flying on Russian spacecraft and Russians sometimes flying on American spacecraft. Under that set-up however, there was no direct payment by the U.S. for its seats on those Russian spacecraft, since it was a straight embargo deal.

Will this be the case now? We shall see. NASA for the past two decades has increasingly worked to keep the Russian space effort operating, sometimes even to the detriment of American efforts.

If Russia no longer gets money from the U.S. for its space flights it simply might not be able to afford to fly. We really won’t need them, but for a number of reasons we might decide to pay them to keep them in the game, both from a foreign policy perspective as well as some underhanded motives that are divorced from considerations of the national interest.

Unfortunately, separating these two issues has become increasingly difficult, especially because of the spreading corruption that is taking over the Washington establishment. This establishment more and more cares little for this country. Instead, it puts its own interests and power first, often in direct violation of the Constitution and the fundamental principles that founded the United States. Under these conditions that establishment might decide it is better to help the Russians, even if it hurts America and its citizens.

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8 comments

  • geoffc

    With Dragon/Cygnus/HTV/CST-100/Dragon2 we might not need the Russian launch facilities for cargo and crew but we need something that can reboost and refuel the station. That would be Progress.

    Maybe we could reactivate the ATV from ESA, which could do reboost (Not sure if it could refuel).

  • C Cecil

    Can the Dragon and Soyuz capsules connect their docking ports to transfer things between them without hooking up to the ISS ?

  • C Cecil: I think the answer is yes. Everyone has been using the same docking system for decades, designed as androgynous so that everything can dock to everything.

  • Richard M

    My understanding is that there will be no payment – as with the Shuttle/ISS era, they’ll just be seat swaps. One Russian rides on a Crew Dragon, one American rides on a Soyuz.

    I’ll be curious if they do this on *every* crew flight that goes up.

    But yes, I do wonder how Roscosmos is going to make up the deficit by losing NASA dollars. More tourists? If not, I expect they’ll pull the money from something else, like Angara or Soyuz 5 development funds. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, if you will. Abandoning the ISS can’t be a political option for them, so something else will get sacrificed.

  • Richard M

    P.S. Word from Eric Berger is that the Boeing Starliner uncrewed test flight (Boe-OFT) is now tentatively set for August.

    A considerable delay, but we also know that this test flight will be as close to the crewed version as can be – which was not quite the case with Crew Dragon. What this means is that there will not be as much time between the uncrewed test flight (Boe-OFT) and the crewed test flight (Boe-CFT) as there will be between the uncrewed and crewed test flights for Crew Dragon.

    Still, it looks like it will be tight for Boeing to squeeze in their crewed flight before the end of this year…

    The sooner we get these vehicles flying crew, the better. Can’t come soon enough.

  • Dick Eagleson

    At a minimum, any non-Russian astronaut flying on a Soyuz once the CC vehicles are in service should certainly get extra hazard pay. No one with an alternative should have to fly on rickety rattletrap Russian rockets. I’d like to see it become U.S. policy that American, Canadian, European and Japanese astronauts all fly on the CC vehicles with the Soyuz serving exclusively Russians and any space tourists willing to risk the ride.

  • Richard M

    “No one with an alternative should have to fly on rickety rattletrap Russian rockets.”

    At least now, that will actually be an option to exercise for NASA, if their QC continues to deteriorate.

    Sad to see what has become of what was once a great space program.

  • Dick Eagleson

    One can only hope Bridenstine soon shows yet more evidence of possessing a functioning spine by pulling all non-Russian astronauts off Soyuz in advance of any fatal failure of that badly decayed system.

    At any rate, we now observe the difference between a national space program run by ideologically motivated gangster tyrants and one run by monetarily motivated gangster tyrants.

    Had Russia chosen to quietly accept its nearly certain fate of sliding into the mists of history a century or so hence, I, too, might now have an elegiac thought or two for the glory that once was Soviet rocketry. But, as Russia has, instead, sought to regain its former status as the world’s premier sovereign pain in the arse, I’m more inclined to schadenfreude at their seemingly incurable decline and wish only for it to accelerate – without killing any Americans or allied foreigners on its way down.

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