03 May

Paying Russia for astronaut launches just took money away from commercial crew plans, delaying missions

Here’s a Catch 22. In order to fund the commercial crew trips to the ISS using SpaceX or other contenders, NASA needs money. With budget cuts on the table, they had to take some of that money and send it to the Russians to keep the astronauts needed for ISS on track. Thus delaying the NASA ability to use commercial trips to 2017.

Frankly, I would have frozen the ISS visits until CCDEV is up and running, as that’s more critical long term, though I understand why this was done. You don’t really win here either way.

My hope is that SpaceX continues to innovate nonetheless.

“‘Because the funding for the President’s plan has been significantly reduced, we now won’t be able to support American launches until 2017. Even this delayed availability will be in question if Congress does not fully support the President’s fiscal year 2014 request for our Commercial Crew Program, forcing us once again to extend our contract with the Russians.”

(Via NASA’s Commercial Crew Catch 22 as another $424m heads to Russia | NASASpaceFlight.com.)