NASA plans on buying up to 24 seats aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) after the Space Shuttle is retired.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, intends to contract with Roscosmos for a minimum of 18 Soyuz seats up to a maximum of 24 seats beginning in the spring of 2012, NASA said in contract documents released Thursday.
“The maximum number of 24 seats may be procured using multiple modifications in increments of three seats, to complete the entire effort,” NASA said. “These services are being procured through Roscosmos because the Soyuz is the only proven crew transportation and rescue vehicle (other than the Space Shuttle which is scheduled for retirement in September 2010) currently compatible and able to dock to the International Space Station and capable of providing the needed services.”
The Russian Soyuz spacecraft will provide crew transportation and rescue services for ISS crews.
Space Adventures, Ltd., in Vienna, Va., a company that provides space tourist flights, sells tourist seats aboard Soyuz vehicles for approximately $30 million per flight.