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Space Businesses

Tourists To ISS Two At a Time Starting In 2012 91

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 @06:00PM (#29638495)

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

    According to the summary, Space Adventures just did.

  • by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:04PM (#29638531)
    Sounds like the first space hotel is up there already; it just doesn't know it yet.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 04, 2009 @06:58PM (#29638865)

    Nowadays all we do is try to find cures for cancer, better batteries, and other boring things.

    Sure they're useful, but where's the excitement in it?

  • Sooo.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal ( 711123 ) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @07:36PM (#29639109)
    So if I buy a ticket and perform the tasks of a flight engineer, do I get a discount?
  • by murdocj ( 543661 ) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @07:37PM (#29639117)

    Yeah, it's too bad that the USA has fallen so far behind, now with Russian rovers exploring Mars, Chinese spacecraft making the first detailed inspection of Mercury, the Brazilians having sending a probe to Pluto... /sarcasm

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:19PM (#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 lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @09:49PM (#29639945) Homepage

    Space Adventures is a U.S. company; they're just using the Russian space program to send clients into space. Nothing is really being pioneered here, not even by the Russians. They haven't designed a new launch vehicle. They haven't made space travel more affordable. They haven't made it significantly safer, either.

    That said, the Russian space program has had a better safety record. Also, they're probably a little less risk adverse, and a little more desperate for cash. So that's why it's the Russians who are sending billionaires into space.

    I think it's a good thing that NASA has the federal funding to focus on science rather than having to rent themselves out as a space taxi for the rich for funding. If private companies want to invest in space tourism, that's their prerogative. That's not what NASA was created for. If anything, they should stick to developing cutting-edge technology (which eventually gets passed down to the civilian sector after they've matured and decreased in cost) and leave the commercialization of space to the private sector.

    This is akin to renting out our cutting edge nuclear subs to the rich and famous to use as a weekend pleasure vessel. Yea, it's "pioneering" in the sense that it hasn't been done before, but it's not exactly an enviable achievement. Now, if Space Adventures had designed a spacecraft of their own specifically tailored to commercial space travel, making it economically viable and safe enough for civilian use (i.e. not having to spend a year training for a 10-day trip), then that would be a huge pioneering achievement.

    However, I just don't see that happening within the next decade unless some significant advances in space technology are made. It simply costs to much to put something into space. Short of the space elevator or some other revolutionary launch vehicle being developed, "space tourism" will remain a novelty for the super rich.

  • 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 you might get it back in one piece if the parachutes open".

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.