|Quoting Centrair (Thread starter):|
This is an interesting development. Never thought I would see it. Can you imagine a Soyuz taking off from Kennedy?
You won't. The Senate has agreed to modify the Iran Non-Proliferation Act to allow NASA to purchase SEATS on Soyuz flights, and other services necessary in support of the International Space Station. This means that NASA will be able to send funding to Russia for more Progress resupply missions, too. This is a huge victory for NASA, both because the INPA was a major impediment to the Space Station, and because the US Congress rarely --- VERY rarely -- permits sending hard currency overseas (Russian citizens don't vote in US elections, afterall.) That they have agreed to do so now is extremely interesting.
|Quoting SATL382G (Reply 1):|
If the Columbia accident had not occured, would NASA still have had to bail out the taxi program at this point? The need for emergency crew escape would still exist as would the 6 month Soyuz lifetime....
Yes, but NASA was planning to get around the INPA by swapping Shuttle flights for lifeboat seats. The Shuttle was to launch the Russian Space Power Platform for ISS.
|Quoting TheSonntag (Reply 2):|
I think this is a good sign, because this shows that the US are willing to continue the international partnership on the ISS instead of going unilateral ways only... The russians always said that they were in fact willing to support the station, but they only had limited financial ressources. With more money they can build more Soyus class ships.
Keep in mind that even with Russia doing the lion's share of the work since the Columbia accident, they are STILL behind the curve compared to what they promised when they joined the program in 1994. They were committed to six Progress resupply flights per year, but they've only managed four per year since First Element Launch in 1998. With the Shuttle flying, NASA was able to make up the Russian shortfall, with Shuttle water and reboost having been critical (Shuttle actually performed more reboost miles 1998-2002 than Progress did.) Now, without Shuttle flying relief, the lack of those extra two Progress flights each year has been hurting badly. Hopefully, the lifting of NASA's restrictions due to the INPA will let them send money to Russia to get the Progress flights up to the desired level, as well as buying a US seat on each Soyuz flight from now until CEV debuts.
|Quoting Alessandro (Reply 3):|
As for Sojuz, I think the base in French Guiana could be used, since the Russians already are building a base there.
No, you'll never see Soyuz manned launches from Kourou for two reasons:
1. The pad (the old Ariane 4 pad) is only being modified for the unmanned Soyuz rocket, not the manned spacecraft
2. Soyuz is to be retired (if you believe the Russians) early in the next decade anyway, and replaced by Kliper. That's maybe ten more manned Soyuz launches. Its not worth the cost of upgrading Kourou and moving operations there for only ten more flights.