NASA has signed a multi-million dollar deal with the Russian space agency to ferry U.S. astronauts to the international space station in 2012.

Under the agreement, the U.S. space agency is paying Russia $306 million to transport astronauts on four launches on the Soyuz capsules.

NASA said Russia would supply comprehensive support for six NASA crew members taking part in the long-duration missions.

The pact extends Russia's existing contract with NASA.