Roscosmos Looks to Make Space Tourist Training Even Shorter

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. (Credit: NASA TV)

TASS reports that it is theoretically possible to reduce the time it takes to train a non-professional astronaut (aka, space tourists or spaceflight participants) to fly to orbit aboard the Soyuz spacecraft to under the current four months. Paying customers used to spend months in training prior to a flight.

The news agency quoted Maksim Kharlamov, who heads the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.

“Theoretically, yes. Simply certain experience is needed and it will keep accumulating. This reduction can be achieved through additional loads on professionals depending on specific conditions, in which they work, and depending on the number of professionals aboard,” Kharlamov said, responding to a question about whether it was possible to further cut the time of training space tourists for their flight.

The accelerated training of non-professional participants in space flights proceeded at a very high level in 2021, he said.

“This experience will be very useful in the future when scientists, researchers, geologists and doctors are expected to go into space. A whole set of such tasks can be devised. We practiced the primary experience of implementing such a program of training last year,” he pointed out.

Film director Klim Shipenko and astress Yulia Peresild were the first paying customers to undergo the abbreviated four-month training program. They flew to the International Space Station on Soyuz MS-19 last October for a 12-day mission during which time they filmed scenes for a movie titled, “Challenge.”

Japanese millionaire Yusaku Maezawa and video producer Yozo Hirano underwent a similar training program prior to their flight to ISS aboard Soyuz MS-20 in December. Their trip to space lasted 11.5 days.

These two most recent paid flights were each flown by a single professional cosmonaut. This marks a change from eight Soyuz tourist flights conducted in the 2000’s during which there were two professionals and one paying tourist per mission.