NASA said it has signed a $141 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA). The new contract will enable NASA to bridge the shuttle-less gap, which will occur between 2010 and 2012 when the current space shuttles are phased out and new space vehicles will become available.
The contract extension covers “all necessary training and preparation for launch, crew rescue, and landing of a long-duration mission for three station crew members,” NASA said. NASA will launch two Soyuz vehicles in the fall of 2011, which will land in the spring of 2012. The organization noted that the flights will also be used to meet NASA's obligations “to its international partners for transportation to and from the station.”
The cargo allowed per person is approximately 110 pounds launched to the station, approximately 37 pounds returned to Earth, and trash disposal of approximately 66 pounds.