Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy has his Sokol launch and entry suit pressure checked before boarding a Soyuz spacecraft for liftoff April 9 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/GCTC/Irina Spector
NASA’s acting administrator said Tuesday he does not expect Russian cosmonauts to start launching to the International Space Station on U.S. commercial crew vehicles until next year.
A proposed agreement with Russia to ensure the space station is always staffed with an international crew is awaiting U.S. government approval. The no-funds-exchanged agreement has been in discussion by NASA and Russian space agency officials for years, but sign-off of a final deal has hit roadblocks in recent months.
Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator, said Tuesday that the draft version of an “implementing agreement” between NASA and Roscosmos is still being reviewed by the U.S. State Department.
“We’re waiting for the final signatures from the State Department on the implementing agreement, and then we’ll provide that draft to Roscosmos and begin negotiations,” Jurczyk told Spaceflight Now in an interview.
He said he believes NASA is close to getting final State Department approval of the agreement’s text, but the clock has likely run out for getting the State Department signatures and finalizing ...