NASA Chooses American Companies To Transport U.S. Astronauts To International Space Station

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

You may have heard about the little issue that the United States has with Russia right now because of what they are doing in Ukraine.  U.S. space shuttles stopped running in 2011, so although we still have American astronauts on the International Space Station, we have been paying Russia $60 million PER PERSON to transport our astronauts to and from the space station on their Soyuz space shuttle.  In May, Russia said they would not give the U.S. access to the space station, starting in 2020, in retaliation for sanctions we had imposed on the Russians for occupying Ukraine.

Well, NASA decided not to let Russia stop Americans from reaching the space station. Today, they announced that they would make contracts with Boeing and SpaceX to transport American astronauts to and from the space shuttle by 2017.  The contracts require that each company conducts a test flight with an astronaut on it to prove their spacecraft can reach and dock with the space station successfully.  Then, each company will run two to six missions to the space station.

NASA says under this new partnership, they can now focus more of their resources on research to allow humans to land on Mars!

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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.