NASA signs space station contract

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NASA has signed a $719m modification to the current International Space Station contract with Russia's Federal Space Agency in Moscow for crew and cargo services through 2011.

The firm-fixed price extension covers crew rotations for 15 crewmembers, six in 2009, six in 2010 and three in 2011, plus the delivery and the removal of 5.6 tonnes of cargo. US Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) are still slated to provide the bulk of cargo transportation needs from 2010 and beyond to the space station.

With the modification, NASA also is purchasing the capability for the Russian Docking Cargo Module (DCM) to carry 1.4 tonnes of NASA cargo to the space station. That module is scheduled to fly in 2010. By adding the module, NASA will be able to fly outfitting hardware for the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module on the DCM, eliminating the need to fly a cargo carrier and some ballast on a shuttle flight.

NASA is required to deliver the Russian outfitting hardware to the station under a 2006 addendum to the ISS Balance of Contributions Agreement between NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

In addition, NASA is purchasing a flight opportunity to and from the space station that will meet an obligation to the international partners. The flight, planned for 2009, will allow for an astronaut from the partners to spend approximately six months aboard the space station.

Work in support of this contract is performed in Russia, Kazakhstan, on board the International Space Station, at NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston and at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre, Florida.