MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. The only minus for Russia in connection with the launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft is that the country will not receive money from NASA for delivery of US astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), Academician of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after Tsiolkovsky Igor Marinin told TASS.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board was launched using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 22.22 pm Moscow time on May 30 from the Cape Canaveral, Florida. Docking with ISS is scheduled on May 31.
"A small downside is that we will use certain money paid by us to the US for the delivery of their astronauts to ICC using Soyuz-MC spacecraft and cargo on Progress spacecraft. However, these amounts of money are fundamentally not planned because the US was to start flying to ISS on their spacecraft and abandon Soyuz spacecraft as early as four years ago. That is why the whole our space program is funded by the government, with taking these extra money into consideration," the expert said.
Availability of the manned spacecraft with the US has certain upsides for Russia, Marinin said. "We can now increase our crew at ICS. The launch of the multifunctional laboratory module Nauka [Science - TASS] to ISS is planned in 2021 and we will able to increase our crew in the station to three individuals," the expert said. Russia will be also able to hold talks with our countries on flights of tourists and professional astronauts to ICS, he added.