Russian cosmonauts may not fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon until 2022

With three crewed launches under its belt, SpaceX has now flown astronauts representing not only NASA, but also the European and Japanese space agencies. But there’s a glaring absence: Russia.

Despite months of ongoing negotiations, NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, have yet to agree on a system for exchanging seats on rides to the International Space Station. Under such a scheme, NASA astronauts would continue to fly on Russian Soyuz vehicles and Russian cosmonauts would step aboard U.S. commercial vehicles like SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. It’s a system NASA has loudly endorsed while waiting for the first commercial vehicles to reach the launch pad, and it isn’t clear whether there are any substantive disagreements slowing the negotiations.

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