Russia not to exploit space shuttle monopoly

July 19th, 2011 - 11:00 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, July 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia will not take advantage of its temporary monopoly on flying astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), the country’s space agency has said.

Russia has signed a number of contracts with NASA on the delivery of US astronauts to the ISS until 2016. The contracts take into consideration annual inflation rates and rising cost of materials in Russia.

NASA is paying space agency Roscosmos more than $1 billion for crew transport services over the next four years.

“We are not going to play around with prices despite the fact that we have become the exclusive participant in this market and only we have the capability to deliver crews to the ISS,” Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin said.

Once the US shuttle fleet is retired after the end of the current Atlantis mission to the ISS, Russia’s Soyuz and Progress spacecraft will take the bulk of crew rotation and cargo missions to the space station until at least the middle of the decade.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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