The US and Russia is ready to repeat the annual mission to the ISS, which will ensure the stay of a NASA astronaut on the station after the end of the contract to fly Americans on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Writes about this TASS with reference to the publication Space News.
This option is a backup in case the partners NASA will not have time to the desired date to finish work on its own manned vehicles. Such a development is possible, since Boeing and SpaceX have shifted the terms of the order of 14 and 15 months respectively.
“NASA will develop a contingency plan to maintain the presence of the ISS in the period after 2018, if the partners under the program of commercial manned launches will face further delays in their plans,” – said in the message.
The current NASA contract with Roscosmos for the delivery of American astronauts to the ISS expires in 2018. Traditionally, seats on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft must be reserved for three years, and so the orders for 2019 needed to make last year.
So as not to interrupt the presence of astronauts on the ISS, discusses the option of repeating the experiment “year in space”. Then astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko spent on the ISS for nearly a year.
“If at the end of 2018, began the second annual expedition, NASA wouldn’t need one place in the middle of 2019, because the astronaut would remain on station until the end of 2019”, – writes the edition.