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JB Umphrey
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After Obamas cutback of the Nasa Space Program, approximately

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After Obama's cutback of the Nasa Space Program, approximately how much does it cost the United States for one of it's astronauts to hitch a ride into outer space on another country's rocket? Wouldn't that be on one of the USSR's rocket? If not, which other country(ies)?

Welcome and thank you for your question!

Since the space shuttle retired in July 2011, NASA has been dependent on Russian Soyuz vehicles to perform this taxi service (the same is true with Japan). It costs $60 million dollars per person.

This arrangement, however, is only a temporary one.

NASA wants several different private spaceships to be up and running by 2017. This is why, in the 2013 budget, President Obama proposed $830 million for NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. This is NASA's effort to encourage American private spaceflight companies to start ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Once these American private spaceships are in place, the US will no longer have to use the Russian Soyuz vehicles.

Now, keep in mind that Congress is the one that's being very tight with the wallet. Last year, the White House allocated $850 million for CCDev activities in fiscal 2012, though Congress ended up granting only $406 million.

I know that this is not what you wanted to hear but you deserve a candid answer. I wish very much that I could offer you an answer that was more favorable to your circumstances, but the law seems to be pretty clear. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

I hope you understand.

It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied.

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