American astronauts to hitch rides with the Russians

Now that the U.S. is retiring its shuttle fleet, Russia seems to be embracing the concept of supply and demand. Can’t really blame the Russians for taking advantage of the situation, but still … yikes:

The new deal will allow NASA to fly a dozen astronauts from the U.S. or its partner agencies on Russia’s venerable Soyuz spacecraft between 2014 and 2015 at a cost of about $62.7 million per seat. That’s an increase from the $55.8 million per seat NASA paid under a deal for six round trips to the station in 2013 and 2014.

At least we’re on friendly terms with them now. I remember what a big deal it was back in 1984 to portray American astronauts hitching a lift with the Soviets in the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. But nobody ever thought they’d be fleecing us someday just for a ride to the International Space Station.

Happily, this is not a permanent arrangement. NASA’s priority for 2015 and beyond is to have private American companies develop spacecraft to deliver our astronauts into space, at which point it’s dasvidaniya to the Russians.

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6 thoughts on “American astronauts to hitch rides with the Russians

  1. Agreed. Thankfully, this is a VERY RARE example of a government agency failing to anticipate or prepare for the future. :P

  2. Yes, I think that it was a mistake to have gotten to this point. We’ve lost our space flight capability. That is so sad. And what will happen when private industries start charging the government for a ride to space?

  3. It’ll be cheaper in the long run, because private industry is almost always more cost-effective and innovative than government. It has to be, because in the private sector there is competition.

  4. Now… I am definitely there with Sarah except if this becomes one company show. Read: monopoly.

    As long as there is healthy competition I can see the private sector doing a good job. Although in this game you can’t cut corners to save money in production… ;)

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