NASA officials arrive in Moscow for ISS talks

NASA officials have arrived in Moscow for talks on Russian and U.S. funding for the International Space Station, a senior official in Russia's space agency said Wednesday.

"In April, all the obligations we had assumed came to an end, and now we have to decide what to do next," Alexei Krasnov, the manned space flight director of the agency, said.

"Our colleagues will present their revised plans coordinated with the U.S. presidential administration, and outline their further input in the ISS program."

The latest ISS mission took off Tuesday, but was immediately followed by debates as to who would pay for the return of the expedition's commander, U.S. astronaut William McArthur. With U.S. shuttles still grounded after the Columbia disaster, Russian Soyuz spacecraft remain the only delivery vehicle for ISS missions. Starting with the McArthur mission, Russia said it would make all flights to and from the ISS for U.S. astronauts on a commercial basis.

Krasnov said America planned to launch 18 shuttles before 2010, including one that would be sent to repair the Hubble orbital telescope.

He added these plans contradicted the project to orbit a Russian energy module, RIA Novosti reports.

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