LE BOURGET, US manned spacecraft Orion is not currenlty being considered for delivering Russian cosmonauts to space, Roscosmos' Deputy Director General Sergey Saveliev told TASS on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.
"The possibility of organizing the so-called 'cross flights' (Russian cosmonauts on US spacecraft, NASA astronauts on Russian Soyuz carrier rockets) is being actively discussed now, first of all from the point of view of international legal issues. NASA is preparing a draft document on the matter that will be later revised. This dialogue is held regarding spacecraft of Boeing and SpaceX, the Orion spacecraft is not being considered at the moment [for delivering Russian cosmonauts to space]," Saveliev said.
A source in the space rocket industry told TASS that Orion spacacraft is not considered for delivering Russian cosmonauts to space for technical reasons. This type of spacecraft is not made for flights to the lower orbits, where the International Space Station (ISS) is located, the source explained.
The Orion spacecraft will be delivered to the orbit by the Space Launch System (SLS) carrier rocket currently being developed in the United States. The first unmanned flight is planned for 2020. The first manned flight may take place in 2022.