NASA chief: US rockets will launch astronauts next year

National

HOUSTON, TX (CNN) — If NASA’s chief has his way, they will soon back in the business of launching humans into orbit.

CNN reports that NASA Administrator James Bridenstine said the agency is very close to being able to fly American astronauts from American soil.

The last time NASA sent a crew to low-Earth orbit was Space Shuttle Atlantis’ final mission in July of 2011. The shuttle carried a crew to the International Space Station.

Since then, NASA has been hitching rides on Russia’s Soyuz rockets — at a cost of $82 million per seat. NASA’s contract with Russia’s agency — Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities — goes through 2020.

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