With President Obama cancelling Constellation and outsourcing space to the private sector, many politicians have been complaining that ditching the NASA rockets will leave America in the hands of the Russians.
Now it looks like SpaceX, a company who thus far has been able to launch one successful rocket into space is challenging Russia for the right to launch Americans into space.
(Earth Times) As lawmakers weigh the pros and cons of turning over US manned spaceflight to contractors, one commercial hopeful vowed Thursday that her firm could fly US astronauts to the orbiting space station for less than a trip on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Gwynne Shotwell, president of Space X, said she could guarantee her company would be able to provide at least three flights to the International Space Station (ISS) for less than 50 million dollars a seat. A ride on the Soyuz currently costs the US space agency NASA 51 million dollars per astronaut, and that price is likely to rise when current agreements expire. [...]
While other industry executives declined to offer such an exact price for their services, all said they would be ready to fly to orbit within three or four years.