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Science Briefing

U.S. allowed to keep using Soyuz seats

September 27, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A political stalemate that threatened to boot the United States off the International Space Station eased this week after U.S. lawmakers passed an exemption allowing NASA to buy rides from the Russians, agency officials said.

Without authorization to spend tax dollars on Russian Soyuz spacecraft and other space services, NASA would have been unable to get to the space station just as the $100-billion complex is finally finished and ready for full-time science.

The Soyuz capsules are the only available vehicles capable of ferrying people to and from the station aside from the U.S. space shuttles, which are to be retired in two years.

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