Russia will not take advantage of its temporary monopoly on flying astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), the country’s space agency Roscosmos said on Monday.
Russia has signed a number of contracts with NASA on the delivery of U.S. astronauts to the ISS until 2016, which take into consideration annual inflation rates and rising cost of materials in Russia.
NASA is paying Roscosmos more than $1 billion for crew transport services over the next four years.
“We are not going to play around with prices despite the fact that we have become the exclusive participant in this market and only we have the capability to deliver crews to the ISS,” Roscosmos cited its chief, Vladimir Popovkin, as saying.
Once the U.S. shuttle fleet is retired after the end of the current Atlantis mission to the orbital station, Russia’s Soyuz and Progress spacecraft will take the bulk of crew rotation and cargo missions to the ISS until at least the middle of the decade.