The price of getting Americans into space has gone up.
Russia has increased the amount of money it charges the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ferry U.S. astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station by $8 million per person. That means each time the U.S. sends an astronaut to the space station in coming years it must pay the Russian Space Agency $70.6 million, the Associated Press notes.
The higher price is included in a contract signed by NASA covering transit to and from the space station in 2016 and 2017. Under the agreement’s terms, NASA will pay the Russians a total of $425 million for transportation via Russia’s Soyuz vehicle.
NASA officials said that the contract with Russia had been necessary due to cuts to the agency’s budget mandated by Congress.
The U.S. has been without spacecraft capable of delivering and retrieving astronauts from Earth orbit since it retired the space shuttle fleet in 2011.
NASA is spending billions to develop a fleet of new re-usable spacecraft with a number of private companies.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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