NASA, facing a severe which is going to turn worse with the Trump administration taking office is considering acquiring two seats aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport crews for its missions in 2017 and 2018 to the ISS.
With the drawing of curtains over the Shuttle program, NASA is dependent on Roscosmos or private players like SpaceX, Boeing to ferry astronauts or space hardware to the ISS. Therefore NASA is contemplating Boeing to transport one team in 2017, one crew member in 2018 and three more astronauts in 2019.
Soyuz manufacturer RSC Energia and Boeing have an agreement to seats on the space capsule. Russia vacated these two seats as a cost-saving measure to save money to Boeing. If NASA buys these seats from Boeing, it will help increase the size of US Crew aboard the ISS which is set to retire in 2024.NASA has contracts with Orbital ATK and SpaceX to transport crew to the International Space Station. However, the vehicles by these private operators are still in their developmental stage and not expected to be ready before 2019.
NASA would need the services of Boeing for the launch of US crew to the International Space Station for half year duration missions, on-orbit rescue missions and rescue services, medical support and return to earth missions. NASA had retired its Space Shuttle in July 2011 in expectation that SpaceX and Boeing will perfect a launch rocket by 2015. However, both SpaceX and Boeing spacecrafts developed snags, and the project was delayed, and the schedule was delayed by more than three years.
The only option left was to use Russian space module for ferrying Astronauts to the ISS. The Russians were quick to seize on the opportunity and kept increasing the charges for transporting astronauts to the ISS from NASA.