NEW YORK, January 27. /TASS/. US private companies Boeing and SpaceX have announced plans to carry out their first manned test flights to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017.
The average cost to fly astronauts to the orbital complex from the US soil will be $58 million a seat, the representatives of the companies told a press conference in Houston, Texas, on Monday.
Currently, international crews fly to the ISS only on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. NASA administrator Charles Bolden said Russian space agency Roscosmos charges NASA some $71 million per seat.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the manned spacecraft, which are being developed jointly with Boeing, could carry four astronauts and a large amount of cargo. She said Russia’s Soyuz holds a maximum of three people, including a pilot. In the future, the companies promise to send five astronauts to the ISS.
The US companies plan to have least two “robust providers” for crew transport, in case one of them has technical problems. Each spacecraft is to provide up to six missions.