Will NASA Have To Buy Seats On The Russian Soyuz Rocket To Carry Its Astronauts Into Orbit?

The answer is “Yes” according to a lot of experts. The Obama administration has instructed Nasa to hand over to private companies the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. That is supposed to free NASA to focus on more ambitious goals, ultimately to take crews beyond the realm of low […]
The answer is “Yes” according to a lot of experts. The Obama administration has instructed Nasa to hand over to private companies the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. That is supposed to free NASA to focus on more ambitious goals, ultimately to take crews beyond the realm of low Earth orbit. So the thinking goes, anyway… However, it is obvious that the transition will not be swift and the replacement of the shuttle is many years off. So, if NASA still wants to carry its astronauts into orbit, there is only one way to do that: they must buy seats on the Russian Soyuz rocket. What do we know about Soyuz and how does it compare to NASA’s Space Shuttle program?
Soyuz docked to International Space Station
Soyuz (Сою́з) is a series of spacecraft designed for the Soviet space program by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s.  The Soyuz spacecraft family is still in service today. Soyuz spacecraft were used to carry personnel to and from Salyut and later Mir Soviet space stations, and are now used for transport to and from the International Space Station. The International Space Station maintains a docked Soyuz spacecraft at all times to be used as escape craft in the event of an emergency. How do the costs compare? According to the industry experts, the Soyuz represents the triumph of a low-cost approach to human space exploration. The Russian capsules are launched on massive expendable rockets, carrying astronauts in a kind of guided cannonball to and from orbit. By contrast, the U.S. built its space program around the most complex flying machine ever, the reusable space shuttle. While the U.S. has spent $209.1 billion on the space shuttle since its inception, the entire Russian space program currently costs just $2 billion a year. Do YOU think that reusable ships are not economically justified? Please comment below.
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