Under the new Budged proposed by the U.S. Senate, contracts to both Space X and Boeing will be delayed due to underfunding. NASA officials criticized the lack of support for companies like SpaceX and Boeing.
There is a 300 million dollar gap between the contracts cost and the Senate proposed budged. The original Commercial Crew program contracted the two companies for the building of cheaper alternatives to standard spacecrafts.
The total sum needed by the program was 1.2 Billion dollars, but congress only proposed 900 Million dollars.
SpaceX and Boeing have to meet specific breakthroughs in a specific timeframe in order to receive continued funding.
Recently NASA has accepted payment of 30 million dollars to SpaceX in return for the company’s successful testing of the Dragon Spacecraft. The payment was done under the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement.
American astronauts at the moment, have to use Soyuz spacecrafts , leaving and returning on Russian soil. This is not economically benefic to America who stand to lose even more jobs in the space industry if the current situation continues.
On the other hand the political tensions between the U.S. and Russia help the rise of even more criticism about the current U.S. Congress budget, which if unchanged before coming into effect will keep favoring the Russian economy.
The current budget would delay plans to end American astronauts use of Soyuz Capsules. The original end to this situation was planned for 2017, when Boeing and SpaceX where supposed to replace the Russian Space Agency as contractors for NASA.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden harshly criticized the U.S. Senate proposed budged saying that –
“By gutting this program and turning our backs on U.S. industry, NASA will be forced to continue to rely on Russia to get its astronauts to space – and continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the Russian economy rather than our own.”
There are some U.S. Senators who would back the amending of the currently proposed budget by a further 300 million dollars, but without a greater bipartisan support the amendment will most likely not pass.
The saddest fact is that with the development of the SpaceX and Boeing programs, the U.S. would end up paying much less per space flight than it now does to Russia.
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