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NASA Renews Crew Space Launch Deal with Russia

Surface Water and Ocean Topography spacecraftNASA has inked a $490 million contract with Russia to keep sending American astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Russian-built space vehicles.

The deal was sealed after Congress failed to pass full funding for the Commercial Crew Program, NASA said Wednesday.

The new contract extends U.S. reliance on Russian spacecraft through 2019, The Hill reports.

In a letter, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. told Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), a member of the House appropriations committee that handles NASA’s budget, that the space program could also miss a 2017 deadline to complete the Boeing and SpaceX vehicles for carrying astronauts to space, Rebecca Shabad writes.

Bolden said Congress must approve President Barack Obama’s $1.24 billion budget proposal for the program to meet the deadline, according to the report.

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