WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — NASA is asking Congress for another half billion dollars to pay Russia to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Wednesday sent a letter to Congress requesting $490 million to pay for six seats on Soyuz rockets for astronauts to fly through 2017.  That comes to nearly $82 million a seat, up from $71 million a seat.

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Bolden blamed Congress for needing the extra money for seats.

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In his letter, Bolden said Congress didn’t add enough to the commercial space program so that launches from U.S. soil had to be pushed back two years, requiring more Russian rides. NASA wanted the money to help private space companies like Space X and Boeing pay for new rockets and capsules that would launch from America.

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