Future manned missions to the International Space Station (ISS) will use Russian and U.S. vehicles, according to the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.
Since 2011, Russia’s Soyuz launch vehicles have flown to the ISS carrying Russian cosmonauts, US astronauts and other crew members. Currently, SpaceX and Boeing are developing new spacecraft for manned missions. SpaceX’ Crew Dragon capsule was launched on the first mission to the ISS on March 2 and docked the space station on March 3.Crew Dragon undocked the ISS on March 8 and safely splashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
The US-based SpaceX unveiled its manned Crew Dragon spacecraft (the Dragon v2 as its other name) in May 2014. NASA and SpaceX signed a $2.6 billion contract in September 2014 on completing the development of the Dragon v2 and certifying it for flights to the ISS, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“We agreed with the NASA leadership to preserve our agreements and principles of cooperation. Astronauts will fly on board Soyuz, and we will use US spacecraft,” Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on Friday, adding that US spacecraft will need to get certification first.
Russia has lost significant market share in the global satellite launch market to American competitor SpaceX.