WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA told Congress on Wednesday that it will have to spend half a billion dollars to pay Russia to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sent a letter to Congress saying the agency would need to pay $490 million to Russia for six seats on Soyuz rockets for U.S. astronauts to fly through 2017. That comes to nearly $82 million a seat, up from $71 million a seat.
Bolden blamed Congress for needing the extra money for seats.
In his letter, Bolden said that because Congress didn’t add enough to the commercial space program, launches from U.S. soil had to be pushed back two years, requiring more Russian rides. NASA wanted the money to help private space companies Space X and Boeing pay for new rockets and capsules that would launch from the U.S.
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This story has been corrected to remove a reference to Bolden asking Congress for more money. NASA says there was no request Wednesday for additional funding.