WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

NASA Considers Russian Ride To Space Station Despite U.S. Commercial Partners

A Soyuz spacecraft approaches the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

NASA is considering booking a seat on a Russian space capsule for one of its astronauts this spring on a trip to the International Space Station. The move comes despite the agency’s $6 billion  commercial partnership with SpaceX and Boeing.

NASA’s last paid seat on a Soyuz launched an astronaut back in October, but now the agency is looking at reserving a future seat on the capsule as a backup.

SpaceX is now handling astronaut trips to the station — first a test mission back in May then an operational mission in November, slated to return later this year. Another crew is scheduled to launch next month.

But NASA is worried if that next launch gets delayed, the agency risks not having a U.S. presence on the station.

“At NASA, we have a phrase we use often – dissimilar redundancy. That’s NASA speak for saying we always have a back-up plan that ensures we have a path forward even if we encounter an issue with our initial approach,” said Robyn Gatens, acting director for the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters.

NASA’s proposed contract includes exchanging services not cash for the Soyuz seat.

Boeing, NASA’s other commercial partner, is still working to certify its vehicle for human flights with an uncrewed test mission scheduled in March.


Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.

GET THE LATEST

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »

TOP