Additional places for NASA astronauts purchased from Boeing

Boeing sold places inside Russian Soyuz spacecraft to NASA. Agency will be probably forced to use these seats in 2019 to let their Astronauts to reach International Space Station due the delay of NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

It was not particularly happy moment in the history of NASA and probably one of the more important failures of program managed by NASA in recent years. Whole program of development of the new American manned spacecraft able to deliver astronauts to International Space Station is not going along with schedule. First flight of NASA astronauts inside manned Dragon or Boeing CST -100 will probably not appear in 2019 as it was originally planned due the technical issues during development of both constructions.

Results of this delay, which is not limited only to one from two contractors, but affected Boeing and SpaceX, are not easy for NASA. Agency did not purchased additional seats for their astronauts from Roscosmos in 2016 and due the procedures of Roscosmos. These require purchasing seats in advance and not later then 3 years before flight, it is now impossible to book flight for 2019 at Roscosmos. NASA decided not to risk leaving ISS for whole year in 2019 and purchased additional places inside Soyuz from Boeing. Company acquired these places as part of the compensation from RSC Energia obtained in 2015. Settlement and compensation were result of a lawsuit between companies about Sea Launch joint venture, where both were business partners until 2011.

Total value of the contract between NASA and Boeing is $373.5 million with average price per seat of $74.7 million. It is almost $7 million less comparing to prices offered by Roscosmos, so in fact for NASA it is kind of economical success. However it should not be surprising, that Agency is not proud of this purchase.

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