Joel Montalbano, deputy to NASA’s International Space Station program, said Wednesday that talks are under way with the Russian Aerospace Corporation to buy one or two seats of the Soyuz carrier rocket to transport crew members to the International Space Station before the U.S. resumes manned flights, Russian satellite network reported.
“Now, the last seat we bought (for us astronauts on the Russian Soyuz) is due in April 2020, and we are in preliminary discussions with Roscosmos about buying one or two more seats,” he said. “
NASA Administrator Jim Brydendin said in October that the agency would likely need one or two locations on a Russian Soyuz carrier rocket to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. At the time, he indicated that negotiations on the issue had not yet begun.
Bridenstine has previously said NASA does not want a situation where U.S. astronauts are not on the International Space Station. This could happen if the U.S. spacecraft’s testing is difficult.
Since the U.S. stopped its space shuttle program in 2011, it has been using the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to send astronauts to the International Space Station. At present, the United States Space Exploration Technology Corporation is developing a manned “Dragon” spacecraft, Boeing is developing “Starliner” new spacecraft.