Top NASA official: Rockets soon to return to launching astronauts from U.S. soil

Published: Aug. 27, 2018 at 5:57 PM CDT
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A top official with NASA all but guarantees the agency will soon be back in business when it comes to carrying humans into low-earth orbit.

NASA Administrator James Bridenstine tells

he expects the U.S. to again launch astronauts into space next year.

For the past seven years, U.S. Astronauts have launched on Russia's Soyuz rockets. USA Today reports the cost to U.S. taxpayers is $82 million a seat.

The last space shuttle, Atlantis, carried an American crew to the International Space Station in 2011.

NASA's contract with Russia's space agency goes through 2020.

"Without question, by the middle of next year, we'll be flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," Bridenstine told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview at NASA headquarters. "We're so close."

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