NASA may buy Russian transport services

The AP reports that NASA may rely on Russian rockets to deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station if private companies don’t succeed in building alternate vehicles under the agency’s COTS program.

NASA has earmarked nearly $500 million to two private companies, SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler, to build orbital spacecraft. The agency recently canceled its contract with Rocketplane Kistler after the Oklahoma company failed to raise sufficient private funding. Kistler recently lost an appeal of that decision.

Meanwhile, New Scientist reports that NASA will shortly name a new COTS partner.