NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has been tied in with taking space explorer launches back to US soil. The SpaceX part of the program is functioning admirably, yet a NASA space traveler may in any case launch from soil in Kazakhstan.
NASA said Tuesday that it’s thinking about saving a ride to the International Space Station on a spring launch of a Russian Soyuz shuttle.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is currently directing regular trips back and forth to the ISS, and Boeing, the other commercial crew partner, hopes to lead a second uncrewed dry run in March. SpaceX is anticipating a Crew-2 mission launch in April. NASA said these endeavors “demonstrate continued progress.”
“Securing an additional Soyuz seat assures the back-up capability of at least one U.S. crew member aboard the International Space Station in the event of a problem with either spacecraft,” the organization said in an explanation. NASA is thinking about offering in-kind services to Russia as opposed to by and large buying a Soyuz seat.
NASA is expecting to constantly have a US crew member on board the ISS. The current team return schedule could make a gap in that if SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission is deferred or doesn’t arrive at the station in April. A Soyuz seat would be a safeguard.
“At NASA, we have a phrase we use often — dissimilar redundancy. That’s NASA speak for saying we always have a back-up plan that ensures we have a path forward even if we encounter an issue with our initial approach,” said Robyn Gatens, NASA’s acting director for the ISS.