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2 Feb, 2019 06:07

Fly me to the moon: Russia may soon send tourists to space on private shuttle

Fly me to the moon: Russia may soon send tourists to space on private shuttle

Russia could see the start of private space tourism in around five years, with participants flying for several minutes to a height of 100km before descending by parachute or engine-powered aircraft.

That’s according to Sergei Zhukov, co-leader of the working group of the National AeroNet Technology Initiative. He told RIA Novosti about the so-called CosmoCourse project, which is being developed by a private investor.

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“We are talking about suborbital tourist traffic. The launch vehicle, the descent vehicle, and the engine are currently being developed,” Zhukov said, adding that the development company has a license from the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

“I think this will take about five years, but maybe more,” the expert said.

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In August 2017, private Russian company CosmoCourse received a Roscosmos license for space activities. The company plans to create a reusable suborbital spacecraft for touring into space. The company’s General Director Pavel Pushkin said earlier that a number of Russian citizens are ready to pay $200,000 to $250,000 for a flight on such a ship.

The Russian space agency has already accomplished orbital space tourism missions.

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To date, seven tourists have visited space. Former NASA scientist Dennis Tito became the first space tourist when he traveled to the International Space Station for eight days in 2001. Six other space tourists also visited the station, each of them paying between $20 million and $40 million. Canadian businessman and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte was the last space tourist in 2009. British singer Sarah Brightman was also supposed to go in 2015, but her flight was canceled for unknown reasons.

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