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Can U.S. Commercial Launchers Beat The Soyuz

There are several articles analyzing Senate Science Committee Chairman Senator Bill Nelson’s hearing last week’s, “Assessing Commercial Space Capabilities. One of the more interesting responses during the hearing came from Malcolm Peterson, former NASA Comptroller, when asked whether U.S. commercial launchers could beat the Russian price for a ride on Soyuz. Unlike the response of SpaceX’s President Gwynne Shotwell, none of the other launcher representatives thought they could match, much less beat, the $50 million price per seat that the Russians charge. Ms. Shotwell, ever the optimist, thought SpaceX could send astronauts up for $30 million a pop. When asked whether it was possible to beat the Russians on price, Peterson had the following to say,

Written by Jim Hillhouse

Jim Hillhouse earned a BA in History and a BSE and MSE in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, with his Master’s work focused on mission planning and orbital mechanics. Jim Hillhouse worked as an undergraduate and graduate assistant to Dr. Robert Bishop’s GNC group at the Center for Space Research, a programmer at JPL’s Navigation Section, and as the McCain 2008 campaign’s Space Industry Coordinator on the Space Coast during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

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