"The 'Expedition 12' crew, American John McArthur and Russian Valery Tokarev, continue their work aboard the International Space Station (ISS). ISS crews are taken to and from the ISS on Russian Soyuz spacecraft while launches of the U.S. space shuttle are grounded. Shuttle launches have been postponed until at least May 2006 because of a problem during the most recent launch, STS-114, in July 2005. Until then, U.S. astronauts will remain dependent on Russia for access to the ISS. Russia has been providing crew transport and 'crew return' (i.e., a 'lifeboat' capability for emergencies) services to NASA at no cost under a 1996 agreement. Russia's obligations under that agreement have been fulfilled with the launch of Soyuz TMA-7. It will remain docked with the ISS during the Expedition 12 mission, scheduled to end in April 2006. In the future, NASA will have to pay for Soyuz services. NASA was prohibited from doing so unless Russia complied with the Iran Nonproliferation Act (INA), but Congress passed a new law amending the INA (P.L. 109-112) that allows NASA to pay Russia for ISS-related goods and services through January 1, 2012."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB93017