There aren’t too many options when choosing your flight to the International Space Station. When NASA sends astronauts to the ISS aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, it will have to pay about $70 million per seat.
CBS reports that NASA will pay $424 million in order to get its astronauts to the International Space Station in 2016 and 2017. That works out to about $70 million per seat. But don’t worry, the training for the six astronauts is included in the price.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden criticized congress for putting NASA in its current position. Bolden said that if congress would have granted the agency’s request for more funding it wouldn’t have to shell out millions to hitch a ride to the ISS.
Bolden said: “Because the funding for the President’s plan has been significantly reduced, we now won’t be able to support American launches until 2017. Even this delayed availability will be in question if Congress does not fully support the President’s fiscal year 2014 request for our Commercial Crew Program, forcing us once again to extend our contract with the Russians. Further delays in our Commercial Crew Program and its impact on our human spaceflight program are unacceptable. That’s why we need the full $821 million the President has requested in next year’s budget to keep us on track to meet our 2017 deadline and bring these launches back to the United States.
There are a few companies working on private spacecrafts at the moment but NASA won’t be able to utilize those for at least a few more years.
Bolden continued: “NASA is committed to launching our astronauts on American spacecraft from U.S. soil as soon as possible. Since the end of our Space Shuttle Program in 2011, NASA has relied on the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) for the launch and safe return of astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard its Soyuz spacecraft. While our Russian counterparts have been good partners, it is unacceptable that we don’t currently have an American capability to launch our own astronauts.”