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Kommersant.Dengi: Vacation in Orbit

May 29, 2020

Extracts from the Kommersant.Dengi article from May 28 (the full text of the article in Russian is available here):


"The service market needs a clear division for suborbital and orbital, and probably, for the lunar-orbital and lunar-surface space tourism. And in each segment it is necessary to build its own system with the use of the partnership between the state and private companies, " Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov defines one of the main conditions for the development of space tourism today. In his opinion, the following tasks should be solved first: "Costs for building manned transport systems should be reduced, mainly due to spaceships’ reusability. It also requires specialized infrastructure for various types of space tourism: from simple cabins for people who want to spend a few days in space, to specialized research and production modules for professional scientists who fly to space to accomplish specific tasks commissioned by large private companies."

How to Get on Board the ISS

"First, you need to contact the State Space Corporation Roscosmos or us at Glavkosmos directly via our website or by email. We will consider the possibility of a commercial flight taking into account the program of the International Space Station and the terms of training, "explains Dmitry Loskutov, CEO of Glavkosmos. — There are available flight opportunities for space tourists to the ISS from time to time. It depends on the changes introduced to the program of flights to the ISS by both Russia and its ISS partners, such as NASA, for example. Each flight of commercial travelers to the station is coordinated with all participants of the ISS project."

"Let's take space food, for example. There is a basic set of space food; it is included in the cost of the flight. At the same time, an individual menu for a tourist can be made up. Certainly, it affects the overall price,” says Director General of Glavkosmos. “We are able to provide tourists with food sets that meet their religious requirements and national preferences. So, last year, during the training of the first astronaut from the UAE, Hazzaa Al Mansoori, we together with our Russian suppliers were directly involved in the development and production of Halal guest space food sets of three dishes. Such a set does not replace, but complements the basic diet, and the astronaut can treat the ISS crew with it."

"Everything required for the life support of a commercial traveler, as well as some his or her personal items, accompany the traveler aboard the Soyuz spacecraft, and this is included in the cost of the flight. The list of personal items is always agreed upon. They go through an expertise and get special permits. Among the most frequent items taken to space are photos, books, flags, and other small things of personal value, " Dmitry Loskutov explains. “In case additional cargo is required, it is agreed on a case-by-case basis."

A tourist's flight usually lasts no more than ten days. The determining factor here is the amount of air, water, and food necessary for human life – all this is delivered to the ISS together with the tourist, and the supply volume is limited by the cargo capacity of crewed spaceships. "However, we are considering options for a flight duration of up to 30 days," said Glavkosmos CEO. “It will be possible if additional cargo is delivered to the ISS by cargo spaceships."

"With the appearance of alternative to Soyuz-MS vehicles of delivery to the ISS, including the expected development of the American human space flight program, there will be more such opportunities for commercial spaceflight participants," Dmitry Loskutov says. “In addition, there is another option: production of a new crewed spacecraft outside the framework of the ISS program. But in this case, there will most likely be a need for a second commercial traveler to recoup production. It is unlikely that a single, even a very wealthy person, will be able to pay the entire amount. Today, taking into account the production cycle, a commercial flight under this option is possible starting from late 2022. The Russian ship has only three seats, one of which is assigned to the cosmonaut-commander of the ship. There are a number of operations that require professionalism, accumulated over years of training."

Launches of all Soyuz crewed spaceships to the ISS, including those with tourists on board, are currently carried out from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. "It is expected that in the next several years, we will be able to send tourists to spaceflights from Vostochny (a civil spaceport in the Amur region) aboard the new Russian crewed spaceship "Oryol" (Eagle - from Russian), " says Dmitry Loskutov.

(Translation by the Press Service of Glavkosmos)