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Space Businesses

Tourists To ISS Two At a Time Starting In 2012 91

Posted by kdawson
from the honeymoon-with-barf-bag dept.
Matt_dk writes "The US firm Space Adventures said on Friday it will be able to send two space tourists into orbit at once from 2012 onwards, on Soyuz spacecraft. 'We have been working on this project for a number of years,' said Sergey Kostenko, the head of the company's office in Russia. Each Soyuz will carry two tourists and a professional astronaut. One of the tourists will have to pass a year-and-a-half training course as a flight engineer. Space Adventures has been authorized by the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos to select and contract candidates for space tourist trips." Meanwhile, the AP has a look back at the delays and disappointments in the commercial spaceflight industry since Burt Rutan captured the Ansari X Prize 5 years ago — no space company has yet announced a date for commercial availability.
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Tourists To ISS Two At a Time Starting In 2012

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:00PM (#29638495)

    no space company has yet announced a date for commercial availability.

    According to the summary, Space Adventures just did.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:03PM (#29638511) Homepage Journal

    And that's how you do it folks. Take a product that people are already climbing over themselves to pay deposits on, and then hype it some more, and back up that hype with an unrealistic schedule. When you go one year over that schedule, people might forgive you. When you go two years over people start wondering what the hell is taking so long. When you go three years over.. well, hello Duke Nukem Forever, can I have my deposit back please?

    • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:39PM (#29638769)

      Uhhh... Virgin Galactic announced their service before they had even really started development on their spaceship. I think people understood pretty well there would be a delay as they develop, build and test a new spacecraft. And considering the virgin galactic trip costs 1% the price of a soyuz trip I would say they're in pretty different markets.

      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:54PM (#29638837) Homepage Journal

        "People" understood nothing. There's still people *today* talking about Virgin Galactic like they're going to be doing orbital flight. In any case, the whole "Bigger Faster Better" aspect of SpaceShipTwo was a long time coming.. most people who put down their money thought they were going to get a flight on a vehicle identical to SpaceShipOne. Of course, since then the buzz has started to die off and crazy Will Whitehorn has been talking up the alternate uses for White Knight 2 should SpaceShipTwo never fly - which is great if you're trying to attract investors, but terrible if you want to stem the tide of people asking for their deposits back.

        • If you put down a $20k deposit without reading the description "Sub-Orbital flight of about 10 minutes" expecting a multi-day orbital flight then you deserve whatever comes your way in life.

          • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:16PM (#29638969) Homepage Journal

            5 years ago people were willing to pay $200k for a ride on SpaceShipOne.. there was a line of them out the door. They refused. Today, people have had 5 years to think about it and they're asking "Gee, what do I get for my $200k?" and now they're not really interested anymore. That's how you kill a market.. gobble up all the capital so you can make the only product, hype the hell out of the product, then not be ready when people come banging on your door. VG have openly said that people are no longer interested in their flights. Even if they were to fly next year (and I doubt they will fly for many years yet), there's likely to be less customers than they need to turn a profit.

            • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @08:19PM (#29639753)
              Hm, I wonder why that is? Surely it didn't have anything to do with the financial meltdown. Surely it wasn't because all the CEOs with millions invested in various stocks realized that the stocks were failing? Basically, Virgin Galactic's market is CEOs or other wealthy people with cash to burn who want to experience weightlessness in space. When most of them realized they can't afford the million dollar bonus this year, Virgin Galactic's market kinda dried up.
              • by QuantumG (50515) *

                Your point being? There was market research 5 years ago that suggested people were ready to fly. They had a vehicle 5 years ago but they chose not to fly anyone - apparently it wasn't as reusable as they said it was cause it only ever flew to space twice. So they hyped up a market and then failed to deliver the product. You can't blame some global financial boogey man for this, it's simple time-to-market failure.

        • Also Virgin Galactic has no investors, it's personally funded by Richard Branson so they have nobody to please or string along.

      • I think people understood pretty well there would be a delay as they develop, build and test a new spacecraft.

        Definitely. After all, what private citizen doesn't know more about Space Tourism Project Management than that Branson guy? Clearly, no one would take Branson's words at face value, expecting him to have done his homework and been honest about the results.

  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:04PM (#29638531)
    Sounds like the first space hotel is up there already; it just doesn't know it yet.
    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      ISS: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

    • by NoYob (1630681)
      Not interested until they have the "red light", gambling, bar, and the Tony Benet modules added.

      Having a cosmonaut give me some cheap vodka, then betting me that he can give a great blow job and doing it while singing on of Benet's hits doesn't count.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      I hope they rip the tourists off ... like, make them pay three/four times the full costs of the travel, and invest the rest into research, extensions, repairs, etc.

  • I mean all that pesky science stuff, who needs it right? Let's turn ISS into Disneyland in space instead. We can run a competition to choose who gets to go up there and dress up as a fucking mouse.

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @05:23PM (#29638679) Homepage Journal

      The spaceflight participants are trained to do the same job as the cosmonauts do. Why do you care if the trained monkey is a Russian government employee or a person who has paid for his own seat? Energia is a private corporation who provide human launch services to the Russian government (and soon the US government), if they want to sell the extra soyuz seat to the highest bidder, what concern of yours is it?

      • by syousef (465911)

        The spaceflight participants are trained to do the same job as the cosmonauts do. Why do you care if the trained monkey is a Russian government employee or a person who has paid for his own seat? Energia is a private corporation who provide human launch services to the Russian government (and soon the US government), if they want to sell the extra soyuz seat to the highest bidder, what concern of yours is it?

        The trouble with mixing private enterprise and public science is that private enterprise will push f

        • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:21PM (#29639011) Homepage Journal

          What part of this are you not understanding? The ISS does the science right? They need humans up there to follow instructions and do the busy work because putting robotic arms up there would be just too hard (or something). Basically anyone can do it.. you don't need to be a fighter pilot or a superman, you just have to have the training. So who gets the training? The hand picked military man? Or the guy who shows up and says "I'll pay you $30 million if you teach me how to do it". Kinda a no brainer.. you send the guy who is offering to pay you rather than the guy who is demanding a pay check. Duh.

          • The hand picked military man works for the SGC and so they have the room to do this as the ISS is for show.

          • by syousef (465911)

            What part of this are you not understanding? The ISS does the science right? They need humans up there to follow instructions

            What the fuck part are you not understanding, you condescending prat? If you bring in commercial interests they become more important and the same science doesn't get done.

            The hand picked military man? Or the guy who shows up and says "I'll pay you $30 million if you teach me how to do it". Kinda a no brainer.. you send the guy who is offering to pay you rather than the guy who is dem

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by QuantumG (50515) *

              Dude, no-one is talking about sending a scientist up there, so you can stop your whining. Your choice is either:

              * two army brats and an empty seat; or
              * two army brats and a paying third pair of hands.

              There's no choice of:

              * three ivy league trained professors

              Know how many geologists the US sent to the Moon? One, and it was on the last mission. For the foreseeable future, especially since the shuttle is being retired, science in space remains a "pack it tight and make your handling instructions simple, and

              • by syousef (465911)

                Dude, no-one is talking about sending a scientist up there

                Dude, that's the problem. Perhaps if you stop smoking weed DUDE and start actually researching what you're talking about...


                There's no choice of:
                * three ivy league trained professors

                Dude, Google NASA astronaut PHD

                Guess what we're not living in the fucking 1960s. Lots of NASA astronauts have degrees. DUDE.

                For the foreseeable future, especially since the shuttle is being retired, science in space remains a "pack it tight and make your handling instructi

            • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

              by HanzoSpam (713251)

              If you bring in commercial interests they become more important and the same science doesn't get done.

              Given that no practical, useful scientific knowledge has emerged from the ISS yet, giving it over to the commercial interests suits me just fine. Explain, exactly, why scientists should be entitled to taxpayer support for essentially nothing but to indulge their own curiosity?

              Let them pay for their own circle-jerk.

              • by syousef (465911)

                Given that no practical, useful scientific knowledge has emerged from the ISS yet, giving it over to the commercial interests suits me just fine. Explain, exactly, why scientists should be entitled to taxpayer support for essentially nothing but to indulge their own curiosity?

                How fucking practical do you think playing with magnets and electricity looked before there was wide spread use of either? What about pressure boilers before the steam engine. The fucking computer you're using right now is provided cou

                • by HanzoSpam (713251)

                  Given the vaccine was only necessary because salmonella is an only an issue of consequence in space travel, isn't that kind of begging the question? I mean, this is an infection that kills maybe 30 people a year on earth. Considering what the cost of running the ISS is, don't you think there are more pressing medical issues to spend that kind of money on?

                  • isn't that kind of begging the question? I mean, this is an infection that kills maybe 30 people a year on earth.
                    I would guess that at least 30 ppl a year die JUST in America JUST from eating EGGS that were infected with salmonella. Throw in bad chicken (kept too long in freezer; yes, salmonella grows slowly on chicken in freezer; don't believe it? Put a black light on a chiken that has in the freezer for about years; the glow is salmonella) and we probaby jump that to at least 100 or even 1000. Around th
          • by Nivag064 (904744)
            I've seen the position after

            1. f3 e5
            2. g4 Qh4 mate

            At school when I was 17 I ran the chess club, a 13ryr old came up and asked if this was checkmate...

            Often called fool's mate for some reason! :-)
        • by Kumiorava (95318)

          I believe the number of people each country can send to ISS is established in the contracts between the participating countries. NASA personnel may prefer to do experiments that prepare NASA for long duration space flight, ESA might be just happy to get there, Russian space program seems to be happy to serve vodka on space station to highest bidder. I'm not saying any of these goals are wrong, but maybe Russians just believe that this tourism experiment is more important/beneficial than cultivating bean spr

          • by rohan972 (880586)

            I'm not saying any of these goals are wrong, but maybe Russians just believe that this tourism experiment is more important/beneficial than cultivating bean sprouts.

            What do you think they're going to do with the bean sprouts? It'll be the most expensive salad those tourists have ever had.

      • by jolyonr (560227)

        They should have sent a poet

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Somebody needs a hug ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mill3d (1647417)
      One could also ramp up $35 mil. in debt and become the first bankrupt pauper to make it to space...
    • Let's turn ISS into Disneyland in space instead.

      Personally I would prefer hookers and blackjack. It worked for the internet.

      We can run a competition to choose who gets to go up there and dress up as a fucking mouse.

      Kind of a reverse strip poker. The loser gets to put on the "Minnie" costume, and everybody else gets a condom.

    • We can run a competition to choose who gets to go up there and dress up as a fucking mouse.

      Haven't quite made up my mind yet, but my vote's definitely going to either Jessica Alba, or Scarlett Johansson.

    • It's the happiest place orbiting earth!

  • Sooo.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:36PM (#29639109)
    So if I buy a ticket and perform the tasks of a flight engineer, do I get a discount?
    • You just want to press all the buttons to see what happens and that's not the task of a flight engineer :-)

    • by Kumiorava (95318)

      You pay extra for the training and privilege of getting flight engineer diploma.

    • Sure we'll discount you the salary of a soviet officer for the time you're on the flight. $5k.

      $30m - $5k = $30m. Check please!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:41PM (#29639139)

    I don't know why anyone is making plans beyond 2012, we all what is coming...

    • by kimvette (919543)

      they accidentally the whole thing?

    • by selven (1556643)
      The Iraq War and the bailouts are actually cover for the trillions of dollars being spent trying to get to Pluto, where those three years we have left will be equivalent to six centuries.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gmuslera (3436)
      Maybe a clue is that those space tourists could be Adam Sandler and Eve.
  • Which porn company will be the 1st one to pay for 2 seats and make the 1st porn movie in space?

    C'mon, you know the prn industry is the 1st one to take advantage of new technologies, all the time.

  • by damburger (981828) on Monday October 05, 2009 @04:57AM (#29642279)

    I find it intensely amusing that the only commercial space flight companies that can actually put people into space for money, are the ones who outsource the actual business of launching rockets to a foreign government, using equipment designed by communists.

    To me it has exposed serious weaknesses in the corporate model of organization. Space travel just doesn't seem like something they can do, at all, whilst larger governments have been doing it competently for years. Sure, there are corporate contractors for government funded space missions, but they are kept on a very tight leash. It could be that higher-level organization is not something you can get from institutions built around artificially inflated self interest.

    • It's not that private companies are inherently incapable of doing space travel. The fact is that space travel simply isn't profitable, and therefore, there's no reason for private companies to do it. This is also why the various prize programs to encourage space technology development are not really having that much of an impact. The companies with the most experience with this kind of thing (your Boeings, Lockheeds, etc) have already figured out the cost/benefit situation here, and have rationally decided
      • by damburger (981828)

        It's not that private companies are inherently incapable of doing space travel. The fact is that space travel simply isn't profitable, and therefore, there's no reason for private companies to do it.

        That is pretty damn funny.

        Basically, its "I COULD climb that tree any time I want to, I just don't want to!". Nothing other than blind faith in the 'invisible hand' or some such nonsense could convince you that private enterprise is capable of space flight.

        Ironically, you've already indicated the reason why; cor

  • I have $10 that says the first pair up tries to have sex. No seriously. Everyone has been curious about the physics and nature of it in zero-G I got $10 that says that a couple is going up there and a whole lot of note taking going on. I'd even pop an extra $5 one that a university or two will even chip in.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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