by Oleg Nekhai
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Jan 17, 2013
US President Barack Obama has signed a bill permitting NASA to pay Russia for delivering American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) till the end of 2020. The US Administration has given up shuttle flights due to restricted financing of the space programme.
Each place aboard a Russian Soyuz spaceship will cost the US $60mln. The price for the delivery of one US astronaut has been calculated by both sides and provides more than just a seat aboard but also meals and various consumables because in the next few years food will only be delivered by Russian spacecraft.
Is this profitable for Russia? The space industry could do with the money received from the US. On the other hand, the workload will also grow, editor-in-chief of the News of Cosmonautics magazine Igor Marinin says.
"Production plants, including the rocket and space corporation Energia, are at the end of their tether making spaceships and Progress cargo spacecraft for delivering equipment to the ISS. Now the burden will be even heavier but we are partners in running the ISS and we took these commitments when we discussed the prospects of extending the ISS operation life till 2020."
Announcer: Russia's cooperation with the US and other partners is not restricted to the ISS but has wider horizons. There are chances of developing joint programmes to explore the Moon and Mars. Keeping this in mind, we could ask Americans for access to their technologies that we do not have in exchange for delivering their astronauts to the orbit.
Announcer: New players have come to the market of space services which is giving rise to some competition. Russia has always been one of the leaders on this market, especially in the segment of space launches. Russia's positions in this respect remain strong, Igor Marinin stresses.
"The main task now is to launch our carrier-rockets regularly to deliver the required cargoes to the required orbits.
Competition is only growing on the part of China which is increasing its number of launches, both general and commercial. The US is in want of rockets, so there are few launches there. The European Space Agency is not a serious competitor either. We will be saved from diminished workloads by raising the reliability of our carrier-rockets."
Presenter: A radical step in this direction will be manufacturing a new series of Soyuz-2 carrier-rockets with a digital control system. They will be used for deliveries to the ISS in the next few years.
The digital control system installed on these rockets will permit doubling the work accuracy. The first two launches of Progress cargo ships with the help of new rockets will be carried out at the end of 2013 and in 2014.
Source: Voice of Russia
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