US Might Fly Yet Another Astronaut To ISS Aboard Russian Soyuz Next Year - Source

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd October, 2019) The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is considering signing a contract on the delivery of a US astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Russian Soyuz MS-17 mission planned for 2020, a source in the space industry told Sputnik.

Head of Russian space agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin told journalists earlier this month that Russia was ready to discuss with the United States future contracts for the delivery of US astronauts to the ISS on board Soyuz spacecraft.

A source close to negotiations on the matter told Sputnik on Monday that preliminary talks were underway between NASA and Roscosmos, but NASA has not yet made any official requests to Roscosmos.

According to the source, if a NASA astronaut does fly to the ISS as part of the Soyuz MS-17 mission, scheduled for October 2020, it will likely by Stephen Bowen.

Since NASA suspended its Space Shuttle program in 2011, the United States has depended on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to carry astronauts to the ISS.

NASA has given contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to develop US spacecraft to transport crew to the ISS. NASA will need to certify the safety of both SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner before they can start their missions. Commissioning dates remain unclear.