The Most Expensive Taxi Ride on Earth – $82 Million Per Seat

Soyuz on launch pad

Russia to Charge US

$82 Million Per Seat on Soyuz Rockets

On March 5th, 2014 Fox News reported:

Today, Jones says, the two space partners (US-Russia) are more inter-dependent than ever. “What they lack for example, is all the control software that we use to point, maneuver and control the space station,” he says. “So, they would not be wise to deny us access, because they would be denying themselves access to all the utilities and supplies they need for the space station.”

Interesting, Inter-dependence: means that they actually work together to carry out common goals. But then that was over a year ago and things have changed.

Now Russia is charging the US $82 millions dollars per seat on a Soyuz Rocket to reach the International Space Station. Why? Because they can! But how can this be true? Well the US retired the Space Shuttle Program back in July of 2011, since then it’s been shifting the program from the public to the private sector. A good idea except for the fact they still needed a lift to get to the International Space Station.


The Two Super-Powers came together

This is were things start to get interesting, but let’s step back in time and look at how this all developed. At the end of the last cold war the two superpowers began to come together during general easing of the geo-political tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. This process in the U.S. was called Détente and in Russian as разрядка (“razryadka“, loosely meaning “relaxation of tension”).

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project made it possible to improve the relations between them. The project itself endeavored to amplify and solidify the improving relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev stated:

“The Soviet and American spacemen will go up into outer space for the first major joint scientific experiment in the history of mankind. They know that from outer space our planet looks even more beautiful. It is big enough for us to live peacefully on it, but it is too small to be threatened by nuclear war”.

On July 15th, 1975 the Soyuz and Apollo mission was completed by 3 American astronauts and 2 Soviet cosmonauts by the exchange of the first international handshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz. It was from this point that the tensions between the United States and the USSR began softened, the project created the path for future cooperative projects in space.

US NASA astronaut Steven Swanson (L) joins hands with Russian cosmonauts, Alexander Skvortsov (C) and Oleg Artemyev (R), in front of a mock-up of a Soyuz TMA spacecraft before their final preflight exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Centre in Star City centre outside Moscow, on March 5, 2014. All three are scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Russian leased Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome on March 26, 2014. NASA chief Charles Bolden said today the US space agency's relationship with Russia remained normal despite the ongoing international crisis in Ukraine. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

Being there in the Hard Times

Nine years later in 2004 President Bush announced that the then aging Space Shuttle program would be shut down with a new plan to return to the moon. Relations between the US and Russia at this time were good.

Bush was telling reporters that he’d looked into Putin’s eyes and “got a sense of his soul.

At this point NASA didn’t have an qualms about asking Russia for help in transporting US astronauts to and from the space station in the interim. Russia had set this tone after 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, they offered a ride during these hard times. Again an act of inter-dependence.

Forty years have passed since the docking of the Soyuz and Apollo capsules, co-operational efforts on ISS have taken place during this time, shared scientific experiments have happened, it was the beginning an embodiment of a new age of cooperative space exploration.


Possible better Relations for the Future

Recently both Roscosmos and NASA have decided to continue to coöperate despite tensions and sanctions imposed by the west on Russia.

The two have agreed  to build a new space station for when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2024. So until the end of 2017 Russia has agreed to give a lift to American astronauts to the tune of $82 million per seat.

Regardless of the cost and this new handshake, let’s all hope this continued endeavor might be the continuance of inter-dependence and possibly improve better relations in the future.


15 thoughts on “The Most Expensive Taxi Ride on Earth – $82 Million Per Seat

  1. Hi Archotech! I saw a Russian film recently while I was in France which I thought was excellent. In French it was called Les Nuits Blanches du Facteur (The Postman’s Sleepless Nights). Have you heard of it?

    1. Why y , europenians and esp. french and germans always stick to some crappy or creepy stuff?

      Well… you could say that europe likes @rth0use cinema… and i partially can undestand why (matrix all around, artificialism all around, fake ppl, fake emotions, fake smiles, superficial feelings, loans race, money oder, fake friendship an so on)…
      But why always something crappy or creepy (or even obviously disgusting sometimes)?

      I can undestand the love to works of Emir Kusturica and something like that … but your general tastes creates certain concern…

      The director of this film @ndrey K0nch@l0vskiy is pretending to be an aristocratic intellectual, but in fact is narrow minded liberal latent Russ0ph0be.
      So considering this one can understand what point represent his works and how much they correspond to reality.

      They together with his bro Nik_ita Mi_kh@lk0v are big money lovers (esp. governm. ones) so they always find them and stick to them like flies to sh_it.

      Btw this the way you alway know where to find them or they will do . lol ha-ha )))

      p.s. Steeve, i will answer you question we talked before a little bit later b\c it is quite big and deep. Was pretty busy.

      1. Hi, Interested to get a different perspective but I must say, I didn’t think it was either crappy or creepy. I liked the characters a lot. I thought they were decent and likeable. I don’t know anything about the director or his Russophobia, but it’s interesting that you put liberal together with narrow-minded! I would consider myself a liberal in most matters and I don’t think I am narrow-minded at all and I am certainly not a Russophobe. I took the film on its merits and I think it has a great deal of merit. I will look up the director and find out more about him, anyway.

      2. Well, the movie itself is not very creept or too crappy.
        But the author\ director made a very notable shift …em… to darkness from the real situation. Correspondence with reality no more than 5\10.

        > but it’s interesting that you put liberal together with narrow-
        > minded! I would consider myself a liberal in most matters and I
        > don’t think I am narrow-minded at all and I am certainly not a
        > Russophobe.

        Well, i don’t see here anything interesting.
        For example, nothing forbids the existence of the fat and the same time stupid guys, who are fags and are agressive, right?
        Here is just the same situation.
        This is the first thing.

        Second – sure you don’t think so. Liberalism perverets and limits the mind. Even here you find it strange that one person can have few features of very different kinds… what for me is nothing starnge at all.

        If you are real liberal and really deeply undestand the final goals of liberalism to support it, then tell me pls to what results in the society it will lead at end?
        What is the main characteristic of the completely liberal society?
        Describe me pls the liberal heaven\utopia.

        > I will look up the director and find out more about him, anyway.
        If you don’t know russian lang. don’t even try. It is useless.
        You will find only its “image” …and even so – only part of it…filtered and polished one for western public.
        Don’t waste you time. 😉

    2. If you y are “hunting” for something genuine and real, try to watch this and feel the difference.
      First of all this is a documetnary. It has far more correspondence with reality, but still even this one is not perfect imo. Nevetheless it is much much better.

      Here in this movie are VERY important the thoughts of the author.

      But even if you don’t know russian…i hope you will able to feel it without direct understanding of the meaning if you have “something inside” and not just theatrics sham generated by the desire of self-dissimilarity and feigned soul intricacy.

      1. Trust me Steeve, this so-called cooperation for now is just only polite window dressing. RosKosmos clearly said before that it is going to start its own space station. Project works are already going on.

        In the current situation they just don’t want to look bully who will ruin the ISS. B\c russian segment is fully autonoums – it can separate, say “bye-bye” and become basement of new russian space station.. but Nasa one and others are unable to fucnction without it.

        So to not look bully, russians will wait until the finish of the contract and project term of ISS. After what they will say that acording to “datashit” ISS resource is exhausted and that is why they are leaving ISS with their segment… and that action has no any bulling or geopolitical ground. 😉

      2. However exist such option as if in case Russia build completely new Space Station project in matter of technology, then they will not need their segment from ISS.
        In such case they will require renegotiation of cooperation condtions in new ISS contract or otherwise they will fly away from the there.

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