Russian Space Tourism Company Closes Doors

The Moscow Times reports that a Russian space tourism company is ceasing operations without having flown any tourists.

Kosmokurs’ operations will cease due to “insurmountable difficulties” in coordinating with local authorities on the cosmodrome project as well as the company’s “inability to obtain needed regulatory documents from the Defense Ministry” for the design of a suborbital tourist rocket, its CEO Pavel Pushkin told RIA Novosti

Pushkin founded the private space corporation in 2014 after being inspired by the early success of companies like SpaceX, founded by U.S. billionaire Elon Musk, and Blue Origin, founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

Russia’s state space agency Roscosmos in 2017 had approved Kosmokurs’ ambitious plan to send tourists to space by 2025. Roscosmos is now looking into hiring Kosmokurs’ 50 or so employees, RIA Novosti reported.

Private Russian Startups Pursue New Launcher, Space Tourism Vehicle

Two-stage Aldan rocket. (Credit: Lin Industrial)
Two-stage Aldan rocket. (Credit: Lin Industrial)

Even as Vladimir Putin and his merry band of bureaucrats and oligarchs are busy re-nationalizing the Russian space industry under the control of one fully-owned government company, there is some sign of independent entrepreneurial life within the nation’s space effort.

Start-up companies have sprouted up to launch satellites and to pursue small satellite launch vehicles and space tourism systems. All of these companies appear to be nurtured by a government created and run incubator called Skolkovo that is designed to be Russia’s answer to Silicon Valley.

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