Russian Space Official: Shuttles Could Fly Beyond 2011

Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov said earlier today in Moscow that he hopes that the US space shuttle program will be prolonged, adding he has been informed of the possibility of shuttles flying beyond 2011. “We have received information from certain sources that the use of space shuttles could be extended beyond 2011,” Perminov was quoted in Interfax, adding that this information arrived through unofficial channels.

As of now, NASA plans only six more shuttle missions, with the program ending by late 2010 or early 2011 after the construction of the International Space Station (ISS) is complete.

But Perminov said he would prefer to see additional shuttle missions to the ISS.

“Then the situation would change substantially and it would be possible to work jointly with the Americans, unlike now, when the main burden (for the ISS) lies with the Russian side,” he said.

He added that NASA’s new chief and former astronaut Charles Bolden would visit Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome on September 30 in his first foreign trip.

While the Augustine Commission review NASA’s future has only outlined a preliminary report, no strategy has been announced by NASA or the Obama administration.

Source: Interfax

5 Replies to “Russian Space Official: Shuttles Could Fly Beyond 2011”

  1. The gap was created for a reason.
    Due to the insane costs of flying the shuttle (over 500 mil a pop), and massive price tag for building any replacement, we made the choice to go without a space vehicle temporarily rather than pay the full costs up front.

    I think the Russians are hoping we will keep the shuttle as a part time vehicle. Because that would mean paying upwards of a 1.5 billion dollars per extra flight and stunting the growth of any replacement program.
    …Which gives them time to get their new rockets in operation.

  2. The Russians have also been chatting up the idea of bringing the Buran out of retirement. Perhaps that would be easier to rationalize were the shuttle deemed indispensable?

  3. First they would have to build one. Ironically enough the flight version was destroyed in a building collapse after a snowstorm.

    The problem with shuttles is we never figured out a cheap way to put them in orbit. So their only advantage is in bringing stuff back.
    If they know something about the technology that we don’t, then by all means they are free to reinvent these space craft into the highly reusable and cost effective vehicle envisioned decades ago (and I wouldn’t mind seeing that happen).

    …but as things are, I suspect its more wishful thinking than engineering going on over there.

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