Lenka White - NASA’s long-term plan is to continue Soyuz flights and integrated mission crews with Roscosmos despite the upcoming possible certification of Boeing’s Starliner, NASA’s International Space Station Program Manager Joel Montalbano said on Wednesday, APA reports citing Sputnik.
"In addition to the one SpaceX, one Boeing flight, the long-term plan is to continue having two Soyuz flights every year. And our long term plan also has integrated crews on these vehicles. And so that's some forward work ahead of us," Montalbano said in a press conference in response to Sputnik's question. "But again, the short answer is one Boeing, one SpaceX and two Soyuz flights every year."
Boeing's first mission carrying astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Starliner capsule, originally scheduled for April, is now delayed until July 21 due to the risk of lithium-ion batteries overheating while docked to the ISS. NASA and Boeing are now working for certification on parachutes.
NASA also wants to keep its strong cooperation with SpaceX.
"We want both Boeing and SpaceX to be available to execute those flights and getting Boeing certified is extremely important to us," NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Manager Steve Stich told Sputnik.
Boeing is now going through a certification with NASA - to help and provide "taxi services" to the International Space Station - the same job as SpaceX is doing. Boeing is going through exactly the same certification and 330 requirements which have to be bought off or certified, as Elon Musk’s company SpaceX did.