Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Transportation

No More Space Tourists After 2009, Russia Says 105

Posted by timothy
from the after-gathering-up-all-of-these-box-tops dept.
mknewman writes with disappointing news for anyone with the money that it would have cost to fly as a space tourist, excerpting a story that says "Russia's space chief says there won't be any more tourists headed to the international space station after this year. Anatoly Perminov told the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta that there will be no room for paying tourists because the space station's crew is expanding from three members to six."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

No More Space Tourists After 2009, Russia Says

Comments Filter:
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:41PM (#26550499)
    "Buy now while stocks last".
    • Good call... no, great call

      Plus, Russia still needs money, I'm sure they'd take some kind of offer. This is more like saying: "this price has gone up... way up"
      • by G00F (241765)

        Not to forget it was also seen as an embarrassment for them not long ago. Think it was even on /.

        01110100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01111000

      • by doti (966971)

        so, the price is expected to rise?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Em Ellel (523581)

        Good call... no, great call

        Plus, Russia still needs money, I'm sure they'd take some kind of offer. This is more like saying: "this price has gone up... way up"

        Yeah, because they could not have just set the price to whatever they wanted...I mean they'd have to be the only ones offering space tourism, like some sort of a monopoly, to do that... Oh wait, they are....

        -Em

    • by Lachlan Hunt (1021263) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:22PM (#26551239) Homepage

      I've been saving my pocket money for this, and I was so close to having enough! I only need another $19,996,142 to reach my $20 million dollar goal, but unfortunately it doesn't look like I'll reach that amount before the end of the year.

      • by No.2 (258174)

        I think the price increased to $30 million. There was an article posted last year that mentioned that the price went up and that they would discontinue the space tourism after this year.

  • Damn! (Score:4, Funny)

    by A. B3ttik (1344591) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:42PM (#26550503)
    So much for my dream of posting from space.
  • Oh, Really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:42PM (#26550519) Homepage
    They can say whatever they want - in reality, there's always gonna be enough room for Benjamin Franklin...(or enough of them!)
  • In Soviet Russia, space tours you!
  • Queue the "In Soviet Russia" jokes.
  • I don't get it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Futile Rhetoric (1105323) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:44PM (#26550567)

    This seems like a fantastic way to help funding the space programme, and Russia isn't exactly awash in cash. Seems stupid.

    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:5, Informative)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:51PM (#26550661)
      With rising gas and oil prices, Russia has a lot more money now than it did when it started the space tourism business. Maybe that's curtailed a little recently, but I think it will pick up again when OPEC cuts production. They could probably swing this on their own now.
      • Re:I don't get it. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Futile Rhetoric (1105323) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:57PM (#26550771)

        OPEC has been cutting production, and the oil prices are still less than 30% of what they were half a year ago. Its stock market has lost 80% of its value. Russia has some reserves built up, but anticipates a budget deficit for next year (and possibly the years after that). They have a lot of spending to do, like the announced plans to raise pensions, retool the military, etc. Will the oil prices bounce up? Maybe -- it depends on how quickly we're heading towards recovery (and it doesn't look like we're in any hurry), and whether or not last year's high oil prices had been a bubble in the first place.

        In light of this, it seems absolutely mad to cut off a pretty reliable source of funding. The only thing I can think of to explain the decision is that (as someone remarked above), they're simply playing hard-to-get, or that space tourism is not that profitable for them in the first place (which I frankly cannot imagine).

        • by floodo1 (246910)
          Or maybe TFA is right, and they just dont have the space (hehe see that "the space"!! :)
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Not good enough. When this much money is on the line, you make space. Besides, it's a way to relieve the world's rich people of their money for the good of the Motherland. These people make some terrible commies, I must say.

            • Well, the USSR was never communist. We just call a totalitarian nation that, but it was VERY far from that. In fact, it is no different for us calling ourselves a democracy (we share a FEW attributes of a democracy, but in reality, we are a socialist republic.
              • I listen this frequently from die-hard leftists/marxists/X-ists. I'm pretty sure that if the URSS would be still alive and strong (despite local deaths/abuses that were always counted as marginal imperfections), that same people would be today saying that the URSS is the single true and mighty communist implementation.

                • by Em Ellel (523581)

                  I listen this frequently from die-hard leftists/marxists/X-ists. I'm pretty sure that if the URSS would be still alive and strong (despite local deaths/abuses that were always counted as marginal imperfections), that same people would be today saying that the URSS is the single true and mighty communist implementation.

                  Actually, USSR never was nor even ever claimed to be communist. In fact its in the name: USSR stands for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They were a Socialist state striving to one day become a communist nation. It is generally poor education that makes people think USSR was Communist, but no one with a clue has ever claimed USSR to be Communist.

                  -Em

                  • Re:I don't get it. (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by DiegoBravo (324012) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:54PM (#26554143) Journal

                    Ok, from that technical definition you're right. If you assume as definition the promised paradise of the communist future, of course nobody will say that some society archived it. The problem with this line of thinking are the following conclusions:

                    1) Humanity never "enjoyed" a real communist society, so we must try again (as if all the "experiments" done were not enough.)
                    2) The failure (after failure...) of a lot of vocal people arguing about the communist benefits, has another excuse for avoiding the ridiculous

                    BTW, China was named itself communist (Mao tried a lot of pretty weird schemes with its people), but Russians always sustained that they were the true revolutionaries (i.e. more communists.) Of course that byzantine discussions were totally silly (as in the Trotsky case) but illustrate the fat books that can be devoted to the insubstantial issue of the degree/realness/quality of the socialist/communist governments.

                    regards,

                • Well, as a Libertarian, I would tell you that they were never a communist country. China was never a communist country. And if the old USSR had not been finished in the 70's, I would still join the academicians in saying the same.

                  In fact, NO country is communist. Perhaps, the CLOSEST that anything gets is small communes like in Israel.
        • by joh (27088)

          In light of this, it seems absolutely mad to cut off a pretty reliable source of funding.

          What? A flight costs a tourist about $20m. Even is this were pure profit (which I doubt) this isn't much. I don't know where the profits finally go, but I doubt that this makes any difference to Russia as a state. Peanuts, really. Russia is actually quite wealthy (the state, not the people), by the way. Building a launcher and a Soyuz craft for dedicated tourist flights seems to be out of the question.

          The reason given (

        • by Vicarius (1093097)

          Russia has some reserves built up, but anticipates a budget deficit for next year (and possibly the years after that).

          Don't forget that they have 3-year budgets and "deficit" in one year can be offset by other two. Plus, they also were saving all the extra money they've been getting from high oil prices into a "Stabilization Fund" for a situation like this. Oil price was budgeted by them for around $70 for quite some time and even a year ago the prediction (and future budgets) anticipated a drop in price to around $60; even though at the time oil prices were skyrocketing through the roof. They must have known something.

        • by westlake (615356)
          In light of this, it seems absolutely mad to cut off a pretty reliable source of funding.

          Bah.

          A grand total of six "space tourists" have made the run to the ISS.

          Call it one a year to be generous.

          You want to see some real money rolling in ? Open a deep discount drug store in the states.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dmitriy88 (1096195)

        Surprisingly enough, they don't get all of their money from oil and gas.

        "Despite higher energy prices, oil and gas only contribute to 5.7% of Russia's GDP and the government predicts this will drop to 3.7% by 2011."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia#Economy [wikipedia.org]

    • by beav007 (746004)

      This seems like a fantastic way to help funding the space programme, and Russia isn't exactly awash in cash. Seems stupid.

      It shows you that Russians aren't all that smart. If they'd done a couple of weeks of contracting in Iraq, they'd have more space funding than NASA.

  • A Kazakh cosmonaut would fly to the space station in the fall of this year under the terms of a commercial deal with Kazakhstan's government, Perminov said.

    Very Ni-ice.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:51PM (#26550671)

    That's why rogue nuclear weapons became a concern, as cash was king. There were many things Russia was doing to raise money - you could vacation there and for a few measly thousands of $$$, ride in their tanks, shoot many of their weapons, and what not. An adventurer's paradise.

    But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas from pipelines to Europe and the rest of the world, I suppose those small time endeavors just aren't as attractive anymore. It's not even subsidizing it's oil to Ukraine any more after this year, as it used to give deep discounts to all it's countries behind the iron curtain.

    • by vlm (69642)

      There were many things Russia was doing to raise money - you could vacation there and for a few measly thousands of $$$, ride in their tanks, shoot many of their weapons, and what not. An adventurer's paradise.

      But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas from pipelines to Europe and the rest of the world, I suppose those small time endeavors just aren't as attractive anymore.

      http://www.flymig.com/ [flymig.com]

      Looks like it's still in operation, high end jet flight costs $32K per hour. Actually more expensive per hour than a space tourism flight, assuming $20e6 for a week in space.

    • Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 1990s. That's why rogue nuclear weapons became a concern, as cash was king. There were many things Russia was doing to raise money - you could vacation there and for a few measly thousands of $$$, ride in their tanks, shoot many of their weapons, and what not. An adventurer's paradise.

      Indeed. If you read the boards devoted to such thing back then, you'd find endless accounts of sexual tourism to Russia - and how wonderful and cheap it was (and how much Russian

    • But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas from pipelines to Europe and the rest of the world

      Except that it isn't. It was good while it lasted for the last few years, but have you checked the oil prices lately? They're way below what was expect when Russia's FY2009 budget was approved, so now there is quite a fuss about it there, and there's certainly no free cash floating around.

  • By 2010 there will be several other companies offering rides into space for less money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Karrde45 (772180)
      Sending someone suborbital isn't quite the same as a multi-day orbital trip to the ISS.
      • by samriel (1456543)
        Maybe so, but it's only a matter of time before Richard Branson has enough money to make himself a) immortal and b) able to fly, thus creating "VirginGalactic - ON A MADMAN!!!"
      • by FleaPlus (6935)

        Sending someone suborbital isn't quite the same as a multi-day orbital trip to the ISS.

        Sure, although it looks like the private multi-day trips to commercial space stations will start in 2011 or 2012:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace [wikipedia.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundancer [wikipedia.org]
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BA_330 [wikipedia.org]

        • by khallow (566160)
          Believe it when I see it. Bigelow is making headway, but I wouldn't consider current progress anywhere near enough. Bigelow has yet to demonstrate that they can put someone in orbit (using any vehicle) or that there will be a livable space station up there when they do. To fill that gap in four years? I really don't see it.
          • by FleaPlus (6935)

            Bigelow has yet to demonstrate that they can put someone in orbit (using any vehicle) or that there will be a livable space station up there when they do.

            Regarding the first issue, that's not what Bigelow is working on. Even if the Atlas V and SpaceX Dragon aren't ready in time, my understanding is that Bigelow is designing their docking interfaces to work with multiple different types of spacecraft. The reason the Russians are giving for not taking crew to the ISS is the lack of availability of room there; if there were another destination, I see no reason for them to decline if the price is high enough.

            • by khallow (566160)
              Oh, if they can use Soyuz, then that does greatly reduce the problem.
              • by FleaPlus (6935)

                Yeah, apparently the Sundancer will be launched with a Soyuz-type docking mechanism on one end, and a new NASA-developed mechanism on the other.

      • by Nyeerrmm (940927)
        What, are you a rocket scientist or something? Remember, alcohol and aerospace don't mix.
  • Typo in title. It should read: "No More Space Program After 2009, Russia Says"
  • Sure, suddenly russia is announcing that the doors are closing, and you'd better pay up NOW 'cuz there won't be any space flight later.

    Of course, later, they will suddenly find 'space' for the civilian spacemen.

    I believe it is called 'manufactured scarcity' ... but RUSSIA would NEVER do that. Nope.
    • There's more to cynicism than just assuming the worst of people. As several commenters above have pointed out, space tourism is hardly a big moneymaker. It was really more of a way to ensure that the soyuz programme had continuous funding in between state paid missions so that production of rockets didn't have to be inconveniently irregular. The soyuz vehicles themselves are starting to become obsolete so even if the ISS wasn't undergoing changes there would be lessened reason to keep tourist flights going.
  • Maybe this will encourage the Russians to apply themselves to developing private space travel.
    • Maybe this will encourage the Russians to apply themselves to developing pirate space travel.

      That sounds better...

      • Maybe this will encourage the Russians to apply themselves to developing pirate space travel.

        That sounds better...

        Sign me up! Arrrr

  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:05PM (#26550925)
    Honestly you can't blame them. They had a slew of obnoxious tourists who got really drunk and trashed the aft section of the station. It was so bad they had to detach the entire section and crash it into the pacific ocean.
  • "we're tired of cleaning up the fricken mess from those party animals that came last time. NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!"
  • That is when SpaceX will go live with crew capability. At that time, SpaceX and Russia will have plenty of room to take tourists. More importantly, I would be surprised if Bigelow does not go live by end of 2012. And in spite of what they say, their Second independent set-up (i.e. not attached to the ISS) WILL be used for tourists. The first will almost certainly be used for a free floating lab with occaisional servicing.
    • by FleaPlus (6935)

      That is when SpaceX will go live with crew capability

      I'm not sure if this is what you're getting at, but one of the limitations (if not the primary limitation) on the crew size is the lack of escape vehicle capacity. One possible option being looked at is to use on of SpaceX's Dragon capsules as a long-term crew escape vehicle [flightglobal.com] docked to the ISS, which would allow for a higher crew capacity.

  • TransHab (Score:4, Interesting)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:53PM (#26551731) Journal
    Anybody know what the status of those inflatable TransHab modules that were launched a while ago is? If they're running out of room on the ISS, maybe they could hook up a few of those.
    • by FleaPlus (6935)

      Since NASA wasn't doing anything with the TransHab technology, it was purchased several years ago by Bigelow Aerospace [wikipedia.org], a company that's using the modules to create a commercial space station. They launched their prototype habitat modules into orbit in 2006 [bigelowaerospace.com] and 2007 [bigelowaerospace.com], and both are still streaming images and video to the surface. They'll be launching the first human-rated module [wikipedia.org] of their space station in 2011 on a SpaceX Falcon 9, and will start launching their larger components and linking them together in 2

      • I was aware of the Bigelow Aerospace takeover, and the 2006/2007 launches. However, when I looked at their website last week, the last thing posted was around mid 2008, and those were just pictures of the ground. There was nothing about how the habitat itself was holding up, no links to recent photos on the inside. The last "status" report was from December 2007.
    • The problem isn't that they are running out of room to put people on orbit - but that when the crew size increases they will no longer have spare seats on the Soyuz.

      • The problem isn't that they are running out of room to put people on orbit - but that when the crew size increases they will no longer have spare seats on the Soyuz.

        NASA needs to get the Jupiter 120/232 launcher going so that they can park a few crew return vehicles at the ISS.
        • Which won't change things one bit - the reason the Russians are halting tourist flights is not because of a lack of crew return capability, but because there aren't any uncommitted seats after this year. Up *or* down.

          • there aren't any uncommitted seats after this year. Up *or* down.

            So, the bus is full. So we either need a bigger bus, or a second bus. Either way, the sooner NASA can attain manned spaceflight, the sooner the tourist season opens.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Vladimir Putin will use his huge swinging Russian dick to catapault stupid Yankee paying tourists into orbit.

  • And the way he did it is with the brilliant "You Can't Come" technique [southparkstudios.com]...
  • Bigelow Aerospace and SpaceX will soon field a complete system of commercial stations and launch assets. Bigelow bought the old TransHab patents from NASA; also has two test modules in orbit right now. SpaceX has their capsule-launching rocket on the pad (w/ test hardware) and a 1-3 track record on Falcon 1. When Falcon 9 works it will change the equation on American spacelift capability. Both these companies, their founders and workers, have the Vision Thing.

    Together they will provide habitat and access fo

  • Now, SpaceX can offer the same service. They only need for one of the 'partners' on ISS to let them dock. Dragon was supposed to be able to launch by this time next year. Experimental, of course.

  • People talk about this as if it was a major disappointment, but all it is, is that the ultra-rich .2% of the population or so have lost one of their toys. It's not going to bring my piss to the boil.

    The purpose of the space station is research - it is nice to see that getting priority over making money on silly publicity stunts for once; I'd like to see more of that. And while the microgravity of that environment is a very valuable scientific resource, it is hardly out in space, actually. If you have a look

  • Great, now space has too many immigrants.
  • Well now what do i do with the four million dollars i've been saving?

    I have no idea how anyone figures the marketing of these kinds of things, but is this good news for the American-based private space companies?

Your own mileage may vary.

Working...