NASA receives clearance for Russian Soyuz spacecraft
Ironically, USA is now purchasing spacecrafts from Russia for their missions to space. The American space organization has just received approval this week to purchase Russian Soyuz spacecraft. NASA requires this craft to transfer astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. President Bush signed the Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005 to make this possible.
NASA is struggling with problems on their aging space shuttle fleet and is facing problems in delivering supplies to the International Space Station. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said that this approval is crucial for the space agency as it helps to ensure the continuous presence of U.S. astronauts on the International Space Station.
The original Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 prohibited NASA from purchasing additional hardware from Russia. USA also had an agreement with Russia requiring Russia to provide 11 three-person Soyuz missions, each lasting six months, for a total of 51/2 years. That agreement would expire in April next year putting NASA in a complicated situation.
This latest event means that NASA now is permitted to purchase Soyuz spacecraft through 2012. The space agency expects their next generation spacecraft to be ready for space missions by then.