NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said that if the United States does not fully fund the agency’s effort to develop commercial vehicles to ferry crews to the international space station, it will have to pay Russia $450 million for every year of delay, reported Oct. 20 in its Cosmic Log.

With the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, NASA has to rely on the Russians to get U.S. astronauts to and from the space station. The agency wants U.S.-made commercial spaceships to take on that role, and it is supporting them through the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

In a speech at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, N.M., Garver said that if NASA receives the $850 million it is seeking for the next phase of CCDev, “by 2016, certainly we will be able to end outsourcing of this capability from the Russians. If we don’t get full funding in 2012, this is at risk.”