That is three times what we were charged in 2006.
NASA also spent $60 Billion of our hard earned tax dollars to help build the Space Station, $40 Billion more for space shuttles used in the assembly process, and we still contribute $3 Billion per year to cover the Space Station’s operating costs.
No wonder Obama sees no problem using a few Million of our tax dollars for his vacation expenses.
Our own space program ended in 2011 with NASA retiring the space shuttle leaving us no way of getting our astronauts to and from the Space Station other than paying Russia for the ride.
Between the years 2006 and 2008, we only purchased one seat per year. Beginning in 2009 we started paying for 6 seats per year. In 2006 we paid $22 million per seat, in 2010 we paid $25 Million per seat, and in the first half of 2011 we paid $28 Million per seat.
In the second half of 2011, Russia raised the price per seat to $43 Million. In 2014 we will pay $55.6 Million, and in 2015 it will cost $60 Million per seat.
Then in April of this year, our friends in NASA signed another contract with Russia for six seats at $71 Million per each seat for 2016 to mid-year 2017.
Because the Russian Soyuz craft can only carry three persons at a time, the Space Station is forced to operate with only 6 persons rather than the 7 it was designed to hold. They keep two of the Soyuz craft at the Space Station in case the crew would need to evacuate in a hurry.
A seventh crew member could potentially add about 33 hours per week to the current amount of crew time devoted to research which would equal a 94 percent increase.
As a result of these expenses, NASA started the Commercial Crew Program in 2010 to end our reliance on Russia to transport our people to the Space Station.
They intend to develop safe, reliable, and cost effective transportation to the Space Station and a low earth orbit.
What’s that you say? “It sounds like a good plan to stop paying Russia for our rides to outer space when we could do it ourselves cheaper?” I would agree with that, but it seems our friends in government don’t agree.
The Commercial Crew Program has yet to receive the full amount they requested in 2011. If they can’t get the proper funding, we will be forced to sign yet another contract with Russia to provide the needed transportation at a likely expense of $100 Million per seat.
OK, those are enough facts for this time. Now, if this were a large business venture rather than a governmental department, it would not take them long to determine if we could save money by building our own transportation or continuing to pay Russia for our taxi service.
Do many of us really know what benefits have been derived from the huge expense of building and maintaining the Space Station? Is it still worth the huge amount of money we are spending? The entire space program has provided us with many of the luxury items we take for granted today. There are a number of people who refuse to believe we actually walked on the moon. I am one that believes we really did walk on the moon and return safely to earth.
When, if ever, has any government agency built anything for their estimated costs? It is normally at least double or triple their cost estimates. We also know that much of these cost overruns are due to corruption, theft, and sweetheart contracts with kickbacks.
Would anyone see anything wrong with putting this project out to bid to private contractors for a firm price? When the bid was awarded, the contractor would need to produce the product at the agreed upon price, or absorb the loss.
Knowing the actual cost would make it easy to determine if we could save any money by doing it ourselves rather than paying the Russians for transportation.
Unfortunately this will never happen. Our elected representatives are not really interested in closing the door on graft and corruption. Much of the gold that trickles down from these massive projects ends up in the pockets of lobbyists and crooked politicians or their friends and relatives.
Have any of our elected representatives ever left office with less gold than they brought with them? Why would anyone in their right mind spend millions of their own money to get elected to office if they didn’t see the possibility of increasing their wealth while in office?
Do we really know if someone in our own government is not getting huge kickbacks from the Russians in trade for the high priced travel contracts? Of course we don’t but is this impossible? I don’t think so. After all, our elected representatives are exempt from insider trading laws, and are now exempt from Obamacare.
The biggest change that needs to happen in our government is to get rid of the “Business as usual” attitudes. And this will not happen until a few of them are caught, found guilty, fired, and put in prison. Only then will they get the wake up call they need to start doing the right thing.