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NASA pays $490 million to renew their ISS flight contract with Russia

NASA has been developing the Commercial Crew Program so that they can ferry the ISS crew without the help of Roscosmos, but it seems that the Congress didn’t allocate enough money for that even after the budget increase in 2015.

NASA’s Administrator, Charles Bolden says that they didn’t have enough money to fast track the development of the Commercial Crew Program, and because of that, they were forced to renew their transportation contract with Russia’s Roscosmos to take the astronauts to the International Space Station.

Bolden notified the lawmakers in a letter that was addressed to the Congress that they shouldn’t reduce the funding for the Commercial Crew funding for at least another fiscal year, or that would be a disaster for the program.

Here’s what he mentioned in his letter:

“Reductions from the FY 2016 request for Commercial Crew proposed in the House and Senate FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bills would result in NASA’s inability to fund several planned CCtCap milestones in FY 2016 and would likely result in funds running out for both contractors during the spring/summer of FY 2016. If this occurs, the existing fixed-price CCtCap contracts may need to be renegotiated, likely resulting in further schedule slippage and increased cost.”

Private space companies like Boeing and SpaceX are on track to develop vehicles/spacecrafts that will ferry the NASA astronauts to the ISS without the help of Russia’s Soyuz. But with the lack of money, all the progress for the Commercial Crew Transportation will be hindered.