BELLEVUE, Wash. — Russian space officials say that they’ve signed off on a commercial deal with Virginia-based Space Adventures to fly two customers to the International Space Station in 2023 — and that one of those customers would be allowed to do a spacewalk.
Space Adventures’ co-founder and chairman, Eric Anderson, told GeekWire that the company is now checking to see who’s interested.
“There is no specific client who’s been contracted for this one,” said Anderson, who has his office in Bellevue even though Space Adventures is headquartered in Virginia. “We’re looking for clients.”
Space Adventures says it’s entered into an agreement with SpaceX to send private citizens into orbit on free-flying missions that would take them far above the International Space Station.
The first flight could take place as early as late 2021, carry up to four people on an autonomously piloted Crew Dragon spacecraft, and last up to five days, the Virginia-based company said in a news release and video about the arrangement. In advance of the mission, the spacefliers would undergo a few weeks of training in the U.S.
In contrast to that test flight, the private mission wouldn’t involve a stopover at the space station, and NASA wouldn’t have a primary role in managing the mission. Space Adventures said the flight would be powered by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida — presumably from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which is set up for crewed flights.
Russia’s space agency says it’s getting ready to resume sending private passengers to the International Space Station and back, a decade after the last space tour.
A contract has been signed with Virginia-based Space Adventures to send two non-professional spacefliers into orbit for short-term space station stays by the end of 2021, Roscosmos reported today in a news release.
Roscosmos said the two passengers would fly on a Soyuz spacecraft that’s currently being built, presumably with a professional Russian cosmonaut in the pilot’s seat. “The execution of all works on the creation of space technology will be carried out at the expense of the space tourists,” Roscosmos said.
More than 17 years after Space Adventures put its first millionaire client in orbit, and nearly nine years after getting its last one launched, the company is raising its profile in the commercial space game once more.
And this time, it’s aiming to be more than just a travel agent for the final frontier.