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Israeli astronaut may go to ISS by Russia's Soyuz spacecraft
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Jan 27, 2014

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An Israeli cosmonaut may use a Russian 'Soyuz' launch vehicle to get to the International Space Station, but as part of the US launch quota.

A source in the rocket and space industry told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday that NASA and Roskosmos are in fact negotiating the sending of an Israeli cosmonaut to the ISS in the long term, certainly not in the next two or three years.

Since other countries have no manned spacecraft, the only option is Russia's 'Soyuz' carrier rocket. But the future Israeli cosmonaut may join a space crew only as part of the US launch quota, or in the capacity of a foreign astronaut.

According to the source, no specific decisions on the issue have been made thus far. NASA is due to decide on whether an Israeli cosmonaut will fly to the ISS or not, just as it normally does in the case of flights of European, Canadian and/or Japanese astronauts to the ISS. The agreed proposal will then be forwarded to Roskosmos so it could start training a particular person for a spaceflight.

The news agency interlocutor said Roskosmos is unable to send the Israeli on the Russian launch quota, since a British space tourist Sarah Brightman has booked a flight to the ISS and is waiting to be launched, just as a former Kazakh cosmonaut, Mukhtar Aymakhanov, who has given up his citizenship to become a Russian citizen and thus ensure a flight to space. Roskosmos, besides, seeks to send more young Russians to the ISS.

The source also pointed out that 'Soyuz' is the most reliable carrier rocket in the world. It is of no small importance to Israel, given that the first Israeli cosmonaut, Ilan Ramon, died during the fatal mission of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003.

Israel will now hardly agree to send its citizen aboard US commercial spacecraft that will begin to be flight-tested in 2017 at the earliest. Israel will hardly run the risk, the news agency interlocutor said.

According to the Israeli media earlier reports, the Israel Space Agency has made quite a progress in negotiations with foreign space agencies on launching Israel's second cosmonaut to space. Interfax quotes the reports as saying that the fight in question is likely after 2016.

Source: Voice Of Russia


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