NASA will buy seats for two Soyuz spacecraft from Russia to fly to the International Space Station to ensure U.S. astronauts can remain there until September 2021, according to Russian satellite news.
Currently, under a contract between NASA and the Russian Space Group, U.S. astronaut Christopher Cassidy will travel to the International Space Station on April 9, 2020 aboard the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft and will remain there until October 22.
According to the November news, the Russian space group identified the “Soyuz MS-17” spacecraft and “Soyuz MS-18” spacecraft each of the three astronauts. The former will be launched on 14 October 2020 and the latter in April 2021. In late October, Russian Space Corp. President Rogozin said he had received a letter from NASA Administrator Jim Brydenstin, and that the U.S. might need to buy a location on each of the two ships.
The agency will sign a two-seat contract, one each for Alliance MS-17 and One for Alliance MS-18, the government procurement network said. In case the Launch of America’s own manned spacecraft is delayed, it will ensure that there is at least one NASA astronaut on the International Space Station by September 2021.
It is understood that without the purchase of the two seats on the Soyuz, the International Space Station may not have American astronauts from October 2020.