Roscosmos Plan To Resume Tourist Flights to ISS by 2021

Roscosmos has revealed plans to launch two space tourists for a short stay aboard the ISS.
A Russian Soyuz-2.1 B is prepared for the launch of the Egyptian satellite, EgyptSat-A from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan | Image credit: Roscosmos

Russian space agency Roscosmos has revealed plans to resume tourist flights to the International Space Station by 2021.

In a press release published on the Roscosmos website, agency officials revealed that a contract had been signed for the short-term stay of two “non-professional astronauts” aboard the ISS. The contract is part of a partnership between Roscosmos and American space tourism company, Space Adventures.

Although the cost of the out-this-world adventure was not revealed, the press release did state that the cost of the launch vehicle and all associated costs would be covered by the two space tourists. The statement goes on to reveal that the agency plans to use funds raised from the launch to upgrade production facilities at the Progress Rocket Space Centre. The cost of each seat aboard the launch will, as a result, likely be significantly higher than the $81-million-a-seat rate NASA pays.

The planned launch of the two space tourists will not be a first for Roscosmos. The agency launched the world’s first “fee-paying” space tourist, Dennis Tito in April 2001. The American businessman spent seven days aboard the ISS.

Following Tito, a total of 6 more space tourists launched aboard Russia Soyuz rockets over the next decade. In 2011, Roscosmos was forced to put the programme on hold after the United States Space Shuttle was retired and the Soyuz became the only means of accessing the ISS.

As the United States prepares to resume crewed flights aboard home-grown launch vehicles, Roscosmos will again be able to accommodate space tourists.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.