(eTN) – Sending space tourists to the International Space Station using Russian spaceships may become problematic after 2009, according to the head of the Russian Space Agency (RSA) of the RF Anatoly Perminov.
On April 28th Dennis Tito became humanity’s first paying space tourist, launching from Baikonur aboard a Russian Soyuz bound for International Space Station Alpha. MirCorp and Space Adventures helped organize the trip with Russian Aviation and Space Agency. Tito was onboard for eight days where he did 128 orbits, he then returned home safely. Charging $20 million (USD) for a ten day trip it has become a popular means of space-travel outside of the larger Government agencies, so popular in fact that they have said the agency will not be able to grant all requests.
Closing such expensive and popular sector as space travel the RSA head explains with an agreement signed by the member countries (including Russia) of the international space programme.
According to the international agreement, since 2009, if Japan and Europe launch scientific multipurpose modules, crews of the International Space Station must consist of 6 people. In this case there will be no free places left for tourists of the Russian rockets. Along with that Anatoly Perminov notes that within the next two years something may become clear regarding the pilot-controlled spaceship that Europe and Russia work on together.
Nowadays, as Anatoly Perminov marks, Russia actively works in the sphere of space travel. When RSA sees it possible to take tourists to space, they always do it. However, the number of people willing to fly to space is so high that RSA cannot satisfy them all.
The underlying question therefore is what will happen to space tourism if this scenario plays out as suspected? Perhaps during this period of time other means of space tourism will become more readily available.