If you’ve got very deep pockets and an adventurous spirit, Russia’s space agency has a vacation idea for you.
Glavkosmos, the marketing and international-management arm of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, is inviting folks to consider buying a trip to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
“If you’re tired of the lockdown and closed interstate borders, we think we know how to organize an unforgettable journey for you: come fly to space with us!” Glavkosmos officials said via Twitter on Tuesday (June 8).
That tweet included a link to an informational page about commercial flights to the ISS. “Do you dream of space travel and admire the universe? Today Glavkosmos can make your dream come true,” reads the text near the top of the page.
“Potential customers of commercial human spaceflights now can easily get information from the original source about how their flight to the International Space Station will be organized,” Glavkosmos Director General Dmitry Loskutov said in a statement.
“Prospective commercial participants of spaceflights will find out which spacecraft and rocket they will go on a space trip on, what tasks will be solved during their preflight training, [and] what they will be able to do during their stay in space,” Loskutov said. “And the most important thing is that they can easily contact our managers through our website, get feedback and additional information.”
Prices are not given; potential customers are encouraged to contact Glavkosmos “for more detailed and specific information.”
Tourists have traveled to the space station aboard Soyuz vehicles before: Seven people made eight such trips from 2001 to 2009. (Charles Simonyi went twice.) But those journeys were all organized through the Virginia company Space Adventures, whereas Glavkosmos now seems to be appealing to prospective customers directly.
That doesn’t mean Space Adventures is now out of the Soyuz loop, however. For example, the company is organizing the flight of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who will launch to the station aboard a Soyuz this December along with video producer Yozo Hirano and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.
Maezawa’s flight will follow on the heels of another Soyuz mission that totes two private citizens. In October, actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko are scheduled to launch toward the ISS on a Soyuz commanded by cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Peresild and Shipenko plan to film parts of a movie tentatively titled “Challenge” aboard the station, a project run by Roscosmos and two other Russian outfits — Channel One and Yellow, Black and White studios.
Actor Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman may travel to the orbiting lab around that same time to film a movie of their own. The duo will apparently fly aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, though a launch date has not yet been announced.
Such journeys are part of the ongoing commercialization of human spaceflight in low Earth orbit. In September, for instance, a Crew Dragon will carry four private citizens to orbit on a mission called Inspiration4. The spacecraft won’t hook up with the ISS; it will circle Earth solo for three days and then splash down.
And Houston-based company Axiom Space has booked four Crew Dragon flights to the ISS, each of which will carry paying customers along with a veteran astronaut commander. The first of those flights will launch no earlier than January 2022.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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