The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said in a statement it did not pay for the April 9 flight of a US astronaut on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft to the International Space Station. Instead, it provided a seat on the US spacecraft, which is due to be launched in 2023, TASS informed.
“To ensure continuous U.S. presence aboard the International Space Station, NASA has signed a contract with a U.S. commercial company Axiom Space of Houston to fly a NASA astronaut on an upcoming Soyuz rotation on Soyuz MS-18, scheduled to launch April 9. In exchange, NASA will provide a seat on a future U.S. commercial spacecraft, expected to launch in 2023, as part of a space station crew rotation mission,” according to the statement. “The ‘seat’ on each flight includes transportation to and from the International Space Station and comprehensive mission support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, flight operations, landing and crew rescue services.”
The contract contains no exchange of funds “because the services are determined to be of comparable value to both parties.”