American astronauts are now flying to the International Space Station (ISS) from American land, right?
So why would a NASA astronaut explode on the ISS from Russia at a cost of more than $ 90 million?
Despite the success of Launch America on May 30, 2020, when NASA astronauts Bob Benken and Doug Hurley traveled to and from the ISS in SpaceX hardware during the historic SpaceX Crew Demo-2 mission, NASA astronaut Kate Rubin will leave Earth this week from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
As I announced back in June, this is the last part of an existing agreement between NASA and the Russian space agency to send a US astronaut to the ISS aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
When is the next rocket launch to the ISS?
Rubin is due out on Wednesday, October 1
Where to watch the rocket launch to the ISS
You can join the launch online by visiting NASA TV on the space agency’s website or NASA TV on YouTube:
Why is NASA paying Russia $ 90 million to launch an astronaut when it already has SpaceX?
NASA has signed contracts with Russia to purchase space on the Soyuz spacecraft since 2011, when the shuttle was grounded. This is the last place currently agreed, confirmed by NASA last week. In fact, a modification of the contract in May 2020 provided one seat at a price of $ 90,252,905.69. Costs include training and preparation for launch, flight operations, landing and rescue of the crew.
So does that mean NASA had a plan B while SpaceX tested its Crew Dragon spacecraft last summer? “NASA continues to have high confidence in our US trading partners for regular crew rotation,” NASA said in a statement to me by email.
However, there is a refreshing lack of nationalism in what is ultimately an entirely global endeavor. “As the capacity of the US commercial crew begins to operate, astronauts and astronauts must resume flights together on our respective spacecraft, in line with previous practice,” NASA said in a statement.
Will Russian astronauts fly on NASA SpaceX missions?
Almost certainly – because it’s safer. “A problem with a spacecraft in orbit could force the full crew of this spacecraft to return to Earth,” NASA said in a statement. “Flying mixed crews are mutually beneficial because they would increase the likelihood that both astronauts and astronauts would be on the space station to perform critical operations.”
NASA and Roscosmos are now discussing plans to ensure that at least one American and one Russian crew member are on board the ISS at the same time.
So as the days of paying $ 90 million per seat pass for NASA, we can expect to see Russian astronauts on SpaceX missions and NASA astronauts on Union missions.
What about the “space toilet?”
While on the ISS, Rubin will participate in countless scientific experiments, although one of her and her crew’s biggest tasks will be to test NASA’s new “space toilet.”
Taken to the ISS earlier this month on a cargo delivery mission, the Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) is a compact toilet with a urine transfer system that further automates waste management and storage. Smaller than the previous outfit, UWMS is designed for more crew members and for future missions to the moon and Mars.
“Astronauts will be able to use the new space toilet,” a NASA spokesman said a few days ago. “The intention is to try it out completely, and we need people to do it.”
When is the next ISX SpaceX mission?
Rubin’s ride is not the last time a NASA astronaut will ride on Russian space hardware. On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, NASA Commander Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Wagner, who have been aboard the complex since April 9, 2020, will leave the ISS in the Soyuz MS- 16 and will land in Kazakhstan.
In a mission now postponed until mid-November, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission – the ISS’s first planned private mission – will take NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese Aerospace Astronaut Soichi Noguchi. to the ISS aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle.
Wishing for a clear sky and wide open eyes.