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Cost of Russian Soyuz Seats Rose 384 Percent Over 10 Years

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 1, 2016
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Soyuz TMA-16M lifts off. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Soyuz TMA-16M lifts off. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Excerpted from, “NASA’s Commercial Crew Program: Update on Development and Certification Efforts,” NASA Office of Inspector General, Report No. IG-16-028, September 1, 2016

Russian Crew Transportation Services Have Been Costly

Until a domestic commercial crew capacity is available, NASA will continue to rely on Russia to transport crew to the ISS. As shown in Figure 4, the roundtrip cost for a seat on the Soyuz has increased approximately 384 percent over the last decade from $21.3 million in 2006 to $81.9 million under the most recent contract modification signed in August 2015. Under the 2015 contract, NASA will pay approximately $491.2 million for six seats in 2018.

Table 3 shows the total number of Soyuz seats NASA has contracted for and the total cost of those seats by calendar year.

soyuz_seat_costs_table_2006-18a The 2018 amount includes six seats purchased in the August 2015 contract modification as well as an additional seat purchased in an April 2014 contract modification.

Had the Agency met its original goal of securing commercial crew transportation by calendar year 2015, NASA could have avoided paying Russia close to $1 billion for Soyuz seats in 2017 and 2018, even factoring in the purchase of some seats in 2016 to cover the expected transition period.