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NASA Could Use Russian Rockets in 2019 If Domestic Spacecraft Delayed

© REUTERS / Shamil ZhumatovThe Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying the crew of Shane Kimbrough of the U.S., Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, October 19, 2016.
The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft carrying the crew of Shane Kimbrough of the U.S., Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Russia blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, October 19, 2016. - Sputnik International
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NASA is considering using Russian carrier rockets in 2019 in case domestic private spacecraft are delayed, Russia's RSC Energia said Wednesday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is considering using Russian carrier rockets in 2019 if domestic private spacecraft are delayed, Russia's Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia said Wednesday.

"NASA is also considering the option of three flight opportunities aboard Russia's Soyuz in 2019 to provide backup in case of delays in the readiness of US private craft, and to expand operations and research at the ISS," Energia said in a statement.

US aerospace manufacturer SpaceX announced last month it had pushed back the launch of its first manned Dragon spaceship to May 2018 from August 2017.

The United States pins high hopes on a contract it awarded to SpaceX and Boeing to build a spaceship that will transport US astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). NASA wants to end reliance on Russia and has been reluctant to extend a crew transportation deal with it past the expiration date next year.

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