Moscow [Russia], Nov 19 : Foreign astronauts are not part of the planned Soyuz crew set to travel to the International Space Station (ISS) in October 2020 and in the spring of 2021, data published by Russia's Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre has revealed.
According to the current contract, the last US astronaut should travel to the ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in the spring of 2020. If no seats aboard Soyuz are sold to foreign agencies by fall 2020, the Soyuz MS-17 mission will become the first mission to the ISS consisting of all-Russian crew.
At the end of October, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin told reporters that Russia was ready to discuss with the United States future contracts for the delivery of US astronauts to the ISS onboard the Soyuz spacecraft.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator James Bridenstine said last month that his agency could enter negotiations with Roscosmos to buy additional seats on the Soyuz spacecraft for missions to the ISS.
Since NASA suspended its Space Shuttle program in 2011, the US has depended on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to carry astronauts to the ISS.
NASA has given contracts to Boeing and SpaceX to develop US spacecraft to transport crew to the ISS, but the new spacecraft are still in the testing phase.