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NASA Extending Contract to Use Russian Rockets

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According to the Orlando Sentinel, top NASA officials are working to extend a contract with Moscow that would continue using Russian rockets to fly U.S. astronauts into space until 2016.

NASA is reportedly paying Russia $1.5 billion over the next five years to transport its astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The contract comes on the heels of NASA’s current policy of unmanned missions in its post-shuttle age. The agency is now relying on Russia and having to comes to terms with playing catch up in the race for leadership in space.

“It says to me that we’re in trouble,” said Charles Vick, a Russian space expert with the analyst group GlobalSecurity.org. “They are not going to wait for us to catch up. We have to get our act together, or we are going to be out of the game.”

Former President George W. Bush‘s Constellation program, a mission to the moon, was cancelled last year after $13 billion failed to produce a working rocket and spacecraft.

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