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.