Roscosmos' head Dmitry Rogozin stated that he plans to send cosmonauts on SpaceXs Crew Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station.
This is a remarkable change in tone considering Rogozins difficult relationship with NASA, and especially SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Musk was invited by Rogozins director to tea at his Russian home last month. This marks a significant shift in their demeanor after they have had a history of taking shots at each other.
It is possible to combine Russian cosmonauts with NASA astronauts in future launches of the spacecraft.
According to SpaceNews, Rogozin stated that SpaceX has enough experience to allow us to send our cosmonauts to Crew Dragon. He spoke through a translator during a Monday press conference.
He said that he believes we will be able to discuss potential candidates for the Crew Dragon Russian Cosmonauts and American astronauts flying to the station on Russian spacecraft.
According to SpaceNews, the Crew-5 mission in 2022 could be the earliest Russian cosmonaut to travel to the ISS aboard a Crew Dragon capsule.
This news comes shortly after NASA and SpaceX have completed their flight readiness reviews for the Crew-3 mission, which will be launched on October 31st.
SpaceX has demonstrated the flightworthiness and maneuverability of its Crew Dragon spacecraft five times, four of which were crewed missions into orbit.
Russia's Soyuz spacecraft is much older and has been in use for more than half a century. Its first crewed launch took place in 1967. Although its technologies and configurations have been improved many times since its maiden voyage, in 1960s, the overall platform retains striking similarities to decades-old designs.
Rogozin and Roscosmos are admitting defeat when they plan to fly cosmonauts aboard SpaceXs Crew Dragon. This endorsement comes at an unusual moment, after Russian officials revealed earlier this year that Russia is ready to leave the ISS following two decades of international occupation and cooperation.
Russia may be simply making sure Russian cosmonauts are aboard the aging outpost to the bitter end, or it could be a opportunistic move.
It would leave a lot of money on the table. NASA spent $90 million last year to purchase a Soyuz space seat. It is not clear how much Russia would need to pay NASA or SpaceX to launch a Crew Dragon crew member.
Maybe we should trust Rogozin's word at the end of it all. NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy stated Monday that they expect several more flights before feeling confident in the vehicle's performance, which Crew Dragon has already proven. We are currently having this conversation.
It is impossible to get a clear picture of Rogozins intentions, as it is always. His opinions range from a furious rant at NASA for giving SpaceX carte blanche, to threats to American space journalists, and inviting Musk to tea with his family. This is just the last year.
It is unclear if Russia is allowing SpaceX to use its space or if Russia will continue to be present on the ISS.
READ MORE: Rogozin declares Crew Dragon safe for Russian Cosmonauts [SpaceNews]
More on Rogozin - Russian Space Chief Issues Invite Elon Musk to a Cryptic Meeting
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