NASA may extend ISS stays following crew vehicle delays

From Engadget - April 17, 2018

Speaking in front of the commerce, justice and science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, Lightfoot said, "One thing we have is a great relationship with our Russians partners, and we are looking at other alternatives about potentially extending mission duration for the current missions that are there so that we do not gap the ability to get there."

The problem right now is that the US has Russian Soyuz seats through the fall of 2019. It's possible that commercial crew flights may not become operational (out of the testing phase) until early 2020. That would leave a gap in the US's ability to send and retrieve astronauts from the ISS. The first commercial crew test flights are scheduled to happen later this year, though those will be uncrewed, according to Lightfoot. That means that the crewed tests will likely be delayed until next year.


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