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NASA Likely to Continue Flying its Astronauts on The Russian Soyuz

NASA said these post-certification flights will be fully operational and will be regular, long-duration rotation missions, just like the missions facilitated by Soyuz today, the report noted

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US shutdown delays space missions but NASA not grounded: Report,

NASA is likely to continue flying its astronauts on the Russian Soyuz vehicle even after US commercial crew vehicles arrive, media report said.

However, nothing has been signed officially yet, an agency spokesperson said.

“Bill Gerstenmaier and senior NASA leadership have stated their intention to have US crewmembers on Soyuz vehicles after 2019 and (to have) Russians on US crew vehicles,” Stephanie Schierholz, who works in public affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington, was quoted as saying to Space.com on Tuesday.

Gerstenmaier is the associate administrator for human exploration and operations for NASA.

The US space agency retired its space shuttle program in 2011 and has relied on Russian vehicles since then to go to the ISS.

The US space agency has an agreement with Russia to fly crews on Soyuz through at least 2019, and some of those crewmembers are already announced, the report said.

NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
However, nothing has been signed officially yet, an agency spokesperson said. Flickr

NASA has partnered with two commercial crew providers — Boeing and SpaceX — to bring vehicles for crews online.

While SpaceX announced its first uncrewed test flight of the Dragon human spacecraft in 2019, Boeing is expected to launch its own uncrewed flight in the following months. Once these vehicles are certified for flight, astronauts will ride them to the ISS.

In August, NASA revealed the names of nine US astronauts who will fly on the first certification flights for Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Dragon.

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NASA said these post-certification flights will be fully operational and will be regular, long-duration rotation missions, just like the missions facilitated by Soyuz today, the report noted.

Schierholz added that having Russian and US vehicles flying simultaneously will provide “redundancy in crew transportation” to the ISS. (IANS)

Next Story

NASA Names Mars Rock after The Band, The Rolling Stones

Slightly larger than a golf ball, the “Rolling Stones Rock” is said to have rolled about 3 feet (1 meter), spurred by the InSight spacecraft’s thrusters

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The "Rolling Stones Rock," slightly larger than a golf ball and named after the rock band, is seen on the surface of Mars after it rolled about 3 feet, spurred by the thrusters on NASA's InSight spacecraft, Nov. 26, 2018. VOA

The Rolling Stones have rocked stages around the world in their more than 50-year career. But now their influence has gone into space after NASA’s Mars InSight Mission named a rock on the planet after the band.

Slightly larger than a golf ball, the “Rolling Stones Rock” is said to have rolled about 3 feet (1 meter), spurred by the InSight spacecraft’s thrusters during touchdown on Mars in November, NASA said.

“In images taken by InSight the next day, several divots in the orange-red soil can be seen trailing Rolling Stones Rock,” it said. “It’s the farthest NASA has seen a rock roll while landing a spacecraft on another planet.”

Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr. announced the name as Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts were about to perform Thursday night at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium, close to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA, Mars, Rock
The Rolling Stones have rocked stages around the world in their more than 50-year career. Pixabay

The Rolling Stones, known for hits such as “Sympathy For The Devil” and “Brown Sugar,” called the honor “a milestone in our long and eventful history.”

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While the “Rolling Stones Rock” name is informal, it will feature on working maps of Mars, NASA said, but only the International Astronomical Union can give official scientific names for locations, asteroids and other objects in the solar system. (VOA)