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Space Tourism – The Ultimate Adventure

The adventurer who has seen and done it all, or the extreme sport enthusiast who has pushed the pursuit of an adrenaline rush to the limit, will be interested to hear that Russia is forging ahead with plans for space tourism, which may see adrenaline junkies rocketing off into space as soon as 2011. A private investor has given the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskomos) tourism project a significant financial boost to enable them to build a Soyuz-TM spacecraft for tourist hire.

The spokesperson for the agency was unwilling to name the investor, or to disclose the amount invested, details which are no doubt unimportant to would-be space tourists. The bottom line is that the space tourism project is on track, and despite the high cost of the journey, it is anticipated that people will be lining up for the adventure of a life-time.

In June, Roskomos signed an agreement with Space Adventures, a private American company, for a commercial flight to the International Space Station. Space Adventures has sent five tourists into space on a Soyuz since 2001, using the third seat which is available on the space craft. The five space tourists are Dennis Tito (American), Mark Shuttleworth (South African), Gregory Olsen (American), Anousheh Ansari (Iranian-American) and Charles Simonyi (Hungarian-American). Richard Garriott is the next space tourist scheduled to travel on the Soyuz spacecraft, which is due to launch into space in October 2008. The cost of a one-passenger two-astronaut flight is around $10 million.

The new Soyuz spacecraft, which is designed to carry three people, will be piloted by a professional astronaut with two space tourists as passengers. A Soyuz-TMA is estimated to cost around $10 million, but the cost of the launch vehicle is likely to exceed $40 million. Due to the fact that only one astronaut will be in the craft, it is anticipated that a journey on the new Soyuz will cost a lot more than the $10 million paid by previous space tourists. Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, has made a $5 million down payment to secure his place on the Soyuz in 2011.

Russia plans to allow two more space tourists to occupy the third seat on missions to the International Space Station, one in October 2008 and one in 2009. If you want to be among the space tourists to travel on the new Soyuz spacecraft in 2011, you need to start saving now!


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