The U.S. ambassador to Moscow confirmed on Tuesday that the United States will continue to use Russian Soyuz spacecraft after space shuttles retire from service in 2010.
“Soon, when space shuttles are taken out of operation, we will only be using your Soyuz rockets to put our astronauts into orbit,” John Beyrle said in an online conference hosted by Gazeta.ru.
The new Orion spacecraft, still in development in the U.S., will not be put into service until 2014.
Soyuz spacecraft have been contracted to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA signed a contract with the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos to provide transportation services to the U.S. segment of the ISS with Russian Progress freighters and Soyuz manned spacecraft in 2007.
Under the $700 million contract, Russia will build two Soyuz and four Progress spacecraft for NASA.