NASA Extends Contract for Soyuz Transport to ISS


NASA has signed a $141 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation services planned through the spring of 2012.

The firm-fixed price extension covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, crew rescue, and landing of a long-duration mission for three station crew members. The crew members will launch on two Soyuz vehicles in the fall of 2011. They will land in the spring of 2012. The flights may be used to meet NASA’s obligations to its international partners for transportation to and from the station.

The contract extension also provides for the two Soyuz flights to carry limited cargo to and from the station and dispose of trash. The cargo allowed per person is approximately 110 pounds (50 kilograms) launched to the station, approximately 37 pounds (17 kilograms) returned to Earth, and trash disposal of approximately 66 pounds (30 kilograms).

Editor’s Note: This seems a bit high because Richard Garriott – the last millionaut to book a Soyuz flight reportedly paid only $30 million. This price is about $47 million per person. However, this agreement involves a long duration mission, which is different from the short tourism flights taken by millionauts. So, I imgine there might be extra costs built in.

This is just speculation. I’m sure NASA will be asked about this matter in the days ahead. We’ll see what they say about it.