MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos is ready to hold talks with NASA on the delivery of US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Russian spaceships, Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday.
"Of course, we will think about what to do in this situation. This is an uneasy story because building a spaceship is a complex process, which requires doing many things in advance, buying components and ordering equipment sets. We will, of course, meet [US partners] halfway but a decision will be made proceeding from the real plans of creating both Boeing and SpaceX [spacecraft]," the Roscosmos chief said.
Russia’s Energia Space Rocket Corporation is currently focused on "creating a new spacecraft and is overloaded with work," the Roscosmos chief said.
The issue of the delivery of US astronauts could be resolved by placing an order for a manned spacecraft in advance, Rogozin said.
Roscosmos is currently waiting for "US counterparts to announce that the situation requires some urgent measures," after which the issue of the delivery of NASA astronauts aboard Russian spacecraft will be discussed, he added.
Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Space Programs Sergei Krikalyov earlier told journalists that Russia would not launch a third manned Soyuz MS spacecraft in 2020 because such a flight had not been scheduled and a new crewed spaceship could not be built within the required time limits.
Manned space flights
NASA halted its crewed flights in 2011 after completing its Space Shuttle program. Since then, US astronauts have been travelling to the International Space Station aboard Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft. The contract between Roscosmos and NASA expires in late 2019. Currently, several US companies are developing new spaceships for NASA’s crewed flights.
Boeing is developing a CST-100 Starliner spacecraft expected to be orbited by an Atlas V rocket.
Starliner’s rival, the Crew Dragon derived from the space freighter Dragon, already delivers cargoes to the ISS. The spacecraft has been developed by SpaceX owned by US entrepreneur and investor Elon Musk and has similar features. The spacecraft is expected to be orbited by Falcon-9 launch vehicles produced by SpaceX.
The start of US spaceships’ crewed flights has been numerously delayed.