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No Shuttle, no Soyuz, and SpaceX not ready for prime time.

I don't get it.

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    $\begingroup$ What don't you get? This is rocket science, compounded with a 21st century need for safety. SpaceX isn't ready for prime time because this is rocket science. The Shuttle wasn't safe, even per 20th century standards. The Soyuz had a rather long history of successful launches that were followed by a few failures. Those few failures would have been fine per 20th century standards. They're not quite so fine now. And so we're stuck, for a small number of years. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Feb 23 '17 at 6:19
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    $\begingroup$ what i didn't get, @DavidHammen was that the Soyuz is continued to be used, just not the Soyuz-U. i didn't know about all of those other more current revised models and i thought that the Russians were retiring the entire Soyuz project and was unfamiliar with what remained that was rated for human transport. $\endgroup$ – robert bristow-johnson Feb 23 '17 at 6:56
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Soyuz the booster and Soyuz the person carrying spacecraft are different.

Soyuz the booster is based on the original R-7 ICBM and has seen a series of upgrades. Sometimes to engines, sometimes to computer systems, sometimes to components.

I suspect you are reacting to an article like this one at SpaceflightNow.com which is actually a pretty good article.

The point being made there is that Soyuz the booster, specifically the Soyuz-U version is being retired. To be replaced by the Soyuz booster (There are at least three variants, see Wikipedia on Soyuz for all the details and your head hurting). Get Anatoly Zak's magnum opus on the Russian Space program if you care. There is nothing else like it.

Soyuz spacecraft, on a more modern Soyuz booster will continue carrying crew to the ISS while the Russians maintain participation.

The US will rely on the SpaceX Dragon 2 launched on a Falcon 9 booster as well as a Boeing CST-100 Starliner launched on a Atlas V booster.

The Dragon and CST-100 are aiming for 2018 launch dates. We shall see if they make it.

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  • $\begingroup$ geoff, i'm a sorta socialist regarding rep. so i up-voted both answers, but check-marked the other answer. doesn't look like you need the rep boost, but your answer is excellent. $\endgroup$ – robert bristow-johnson Feb 23 '17 at 1:10
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    $\begingroup$ @robertbristow-johnson votes and checkmarks aren't just for the benefit of the reputation of the user concerned - they're also there to improve the resulting Q&A page. IMO Geoff's answer is substantially better (clearer) than Pavel's, and it should be the first answer that a reader sees, so you should have accepted it. $\endgroup$ – pericynthion Feb 23 '17 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ @pericynthion it will be moved first if there is sufficient up votes. $\endgroup$ – Antzi Feb 23 '17 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ @robertbristow-johnson Vote commie! :) Enjoy. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Feb 23 '17 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ Assuming no upvotes or downvotes for the selected answer, a mere twelve more upvotes for this answer will suffice to earn geoffc a populist badge. That would be far better than yet another accepted answer. Do not randomly drive by downvote Pavel's answer. The accepted answer has to have a positive score in order for geoffc to be awarded the extremely rare (only eight awarded on this site) populist badge. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Feb 23 '17 at 5:48
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Soyuz capsule and Progress cargo ship will be launched over Soyuz FG and Soyuz 2.1a boosters - they all from the same R-7 boosters family

Soyuz FG has minor changes of mixing heads comparable to the retired Soyuz-U and Soyuz 2.1a has digital control system and another third stage

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I believe the Dragon 2 may have a 2017 launch date. Orion is on track for a 2018 launch, and NASA is investigating whether to make the unmanned launch for 2017 a manned launch as well.

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    $\begingroup$ If you buy a 2017 Dragon 2 launch, I've got a sweet deal on some Florida swampland to talk to you about. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 23 '17 at 2:57
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble It is unlikely we will even see the unmanned test flight of Dragon V2 in 2017. And there is this bridge in Brooklyn. Built in the 1880's no cars on it for the first 20 years (had to invent cars first). Cheap! $\endgroup$ – geoffc Feb 23 '17 at 3:15

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