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Apr. 11, 2007
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Roscosmos and NASA Sign Big Contract
The Russian Federal Space Agency and U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration have concluded a four-year contract worth $719 million to deliver 15 astronauts to and from the International Space Station as well as 5.6 tons of cargo. It is the largest contract between them in the last ten years. In 2012, the United States is expected to begin flights on its own spacecraft.
The U.S. agency will fly six astronauts to the space station in 2009, six in 2010 and three in 2011. NASA also gains an additional place on the crew of the station in 2009 for its foreign partners, Japan, Canada and the European Union. The agency has not announced yet who will occupy the place.

NASA needs the services of the Russian Soyuz craft because of its plans to reduce flights by its shuttles and discontinue them completely by 2010. Roscosmos and NASA signed a $43.8-million contract in December 2005 for two astronauts to fly to the space station in 2006. That contract was extended to this year and next for an additional $160 million.

NASA is now financing work by two private companies, SpaceX and Rocketplane Ristler under 2006 contracts for $278 million and $207 million, respectively, to create spacecraft that will be ready to deliver cargo by 2010 and be certified to carry astronauts by 2012.


All the Article in Russian as of Apr. 11, 2007

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