Space Adventures is the only private space agency to put a paying passenger into orbit, having sent businessman Dennis Tito to the International Space Station in April 2001 aboard a Soyuz. Since then they’ve put seven people into orbit on eight flights to the ISS. Several months of training are required, and candidates have to learn Russian to go aboard either Soyuz or the ISS.
Today, Space Adventures offers a menu of spaceflight experiences for the budding space tourist, from thing you can do today like spaceflight training (from around $5,000) and flying aboard a zero-g ‘vomit comet’ aeroplane, to registering for a trip to the Moon (if you have to ask, you can’t go). Deals with the Russian Space Agency permit tourists to visit the once-secret Star City and take part in real cosmonaut training, including simulated spacewalks in a giant water-tank holding a mock-up of the ISS.
For suborbital flights, Space Adventures has partnered with Armadillo Aerospace, and says flights will cost from $110,000. More than a dozen candidates have already signed up, event though Armadillo has yet to conduct a test flight or set a launch date.
With Soyuz flights to the ISS now fully booked-up by NASA, Space Adventures has also signed up with Boeing to use its CST-100 capsule for orbital flights, which is expected to launch in 2015 and should be a few zeros cheaper than Soyuz.
The lunar round-trip mission sounds very ambitious, but has been designed with Space Adventures’ Russian partners, using a Soyuz capsule for launch and re-entry, mating with a new habitation module in Earth orbit to fly tourists around the moon and back to Earth. The pricetag is likely to be astronomical, but Space Adventures has a roster of super-rich clients eager to spend a fortune on such incredible trips.
All images c. Space Adventures