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US to continue using Soyuz spacecraft for future space mission

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The Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft approaches the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

MOSCOW (BNS): The United States will continue to use Russian Soyuz spacecraft after space shuttles retire from service in 2010, U S ambassador to Moscow has said.

“Soon, when space shuttles are taken out of operation, we will only be using your Soyuz rockets to put our astronauts into orbit,” Russian news agency Ria Novosti quoting John Beyrle said, on Tuesday.

According to the report, Soyuz spacecraft have been contracted to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA signed a contract with the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos to provide transportation services to the U S segment of the ISS with Russian Progress freighters and Soyuz manned spacecraft in 2007.

Under the $700 million contract, Russia will build two Soyuz and four Progress spacecraft for NASA.

Meanwhile, the U S new Orion spacecraft is still in development and will not be put into service until 2014.

The Soyuz TMA spacecraft is designed to serve crew members going to or returning from the International Space Station acting as a lifeboat should the crew have to return to Earth unexpectedly.

The spacecraft is launched to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket.

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