Russia’s national space agency Roscosmos plans to send two paying tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023 for a short flight aboard the country’s Soyuz spacecraft,media reported. When they arrive at the space station, one of the tourists will also be on a spacewalk with an experienced Russian cosmonaut — the first of any ordinary citizen to visit ISS.
To transport tourists, Roscosmos is working with Space Adventures, a Us company whose main business is to arrange space flights for wealthy customers. Prior to that, the company had experience working with Roscosmos, which sent seven into ISS on eight Soyuz flights. The last visitor was Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Lalibert? who arrived at ISS in September 2009.
After that, Roscosmos suspended its space travel operations to help NASA astronauts travel to and from the space station. When NASA’s space shuttle was retired in 2011, Soyuz was the only way to transport U.S. astronauts to ISS, so for Roscosmos, its priority was NASA and ISS’s international partners. NASA paid about $80 million for a seat to put astronauts on The Soyuz.
But now that has changed. SpaceX recently sent two NASA crews to ISS through its manned Dragon spacecraft. Meanwhile, Boeing, another NASA partner, is developing a new astronaut capsule called the CST-100 Starliner, which will eventually send NASA astronauts into space. That means NASA is no longer entirely dependent on Russian Soyuz rockets, so NASA will buy fewer seats.
Now it seems Roscosmos’ space tourism efforts are beginning to recover. Early last year, the space agency said it was working with Space Adventures and planning to send two tourists to ISS by 2021. Today’s statement has nothing to do with the agreement.
Yet none of the few visitors who have ever been to space have ever been in space. Spacewalking is a very difficult process, and it requires a lot of training on the ground. It has not been specified how much a trip like this will cost. Space Adventure says candidates who are admitted and given security will be required to complete specialized training and additional simulations to prepare for space travel.
“The completion of a spacewalk by an ordinary person will be another big step in private space flight,” Eric Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Space Adventures, said in a statement. We are delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate 20 years of orbital space travel with our Russian partners and thus embark on another unprecedented experience. “