Yeah, like no one saw this coming!
Russia is raising the amount it charges NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station by more than 20 percent to nearly $63 million each, under a new contract signed March 14.
With the space shuttles being retired this year, NASA is relying on Russia for space station crew transport at a cost until now of $51 million a person.
The ISS is a $100 billion project of 16 nations. NASA plans two final shuttle flights, in April and June, to outfit the station, which orbits about 220 miles (354 km) above Earth.
The shuttles are being retired due to high operating costs and to free up funds for NASA to develop new spaceships that can travel to the moon, asteroids and other destinations beyond the station’s orbit.
The Obama administration hopes commercial U.S. companies will develop the capability to fly people to the station, so NASA can purchase flight services domestically.
“If we are to win the future and out-build our competitors, it’s essential that we make this program a success,” NASA chief Charles Bolden said in a statement…