- Parabolic Arc
- June 2, 2023
Roscosmos to Restart Space Tourist Flights to ISS
Faced with the loss of a NASA contract to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, Roscosmos plans to restart a program to fly tourists to the orbiting laboratory in 2018:
“We plan compensating for the fall of demand for manned spaceships of the Soyuz family after 2018 by resuming short-term commercial expeditions to the Russian segment of the ISS,” Izvestia daily quoted a quarterly report posted by Energiya space corporation, the federal agency’s main subsidiary in the field of manned orbital flights.
At present, NASA buys out the vacant third chairs on the Soyuz ships, since the U.S. does not have piloted spacecraft at the moment, as the Space Shuttle project ended in 2011. In line with the contract for 2017, delivery of an astronaut to space and back to the Earth costs $ 76 million, inclusive of training.
“Roscosmos and NASA may sign an agreement on delivery of astronauts in 2018,” Izvestia said. “It may be the last agreement in the series, as NASA contractors promise to complete construction and testing of new manned spaceships the Dragon manufactured by SpaceX and the CST-100 manufactured by Boeing in 2018.”
Russia flew seven tourists on eight flights to ISS between 2001 and 2009. The flights were suspended when the crew of the space station doubled from three to six and NASA ended its space shuttle program. The Russian Soyuz is the only transport capable of carrying astronauts to the station.
Singer Sarah Brightman will become the next space tourist in September. That mission is possible because two astronauts will be spending a full year on the station, opening up a seat on a Soyuz transport.
55 responses to “Roscosmos to Restart Space Tourist Flights to ISS”
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The Russians do know how to push our buttons in a positive way. This is a wonderful example of them shaming/pushing/cajoling us to be better versions of ourselves. Let’s hope we rise to the occasion, and take more paying customers to orbit than they do.
To do so, we need to allow SpaceX AND Bigelow to move forward on launch and private station.
The sooner the better!!!
Allow?? So there is a gate keeper??
What is stopping them – other than a government contract?
The absence of commercially available spacecraft.
But that is what SpaceX builds. The point is that nothing is actually preventing SpaceX and Bigelow from doing whatever they can afford to do.
I agree with you. But it takes time, especially if the requirements of NASA.
I dunno. I think they’re being very practical. They’ve been relying on an income stream from NASA since 2011 for crew transport. That’s going away. And they’re restarting space tourism as a way to subsidize the program. It makes perfect sense to me. I don’t think there’s anything provocative about it. They’re not doing it to spite us. Just to help keep their program alive.
Not saying they do it to provoke. It’s just that when they do what they need to do or want to do, it usually has the effect of pushing us in some good directions sometimes. What the Russians have done and will do is show there’s a revenue stream to be had if you want to offer the service. It’s a good constructive example, and I hope we learn from them.
Andrew, Ive always liked Adam Smith’s take on it:
By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.
“-led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”
That end appears to be someone peeing down other people’s backs and telling them it’s raining. The invisible hand of trickle down economics has been seen for what it is by most of the planet by now- voodoo doctors convincing their tribe they have supernatural power. It’s a scam.
Yeah, I think they’re just trying to raise money. I don’t see anything bad about it.
“That’s going away.” Not anytime soon but yes, sooner or later, the space station to nowhere is going to be abandoned. But you better believe anyone who can run a scam will steal the very last penny they can by way of that useless bunch of tin cans going in endless circles.
They are being practical, but when brightman and others start going up, how quickly do you think that will press buttons like sputnik did?
Not at all. I doubt that there is a real “revenue stream” to be tapped from space tourism as long as it costs many thousands of dollars per pound to lift anything to LEO. Once the mega millionaires get bored with floating around in a pressurized balloon and staring at the view, what little market there was will dry up. The only way you will develop outer space is if it becomes a place where you go to work as well as recreate.
In fact, the tourism industry has a lot of experience and a lot of tools that would make space tourism popular. For example, in England is very fashionable to grow flowers and bring them new varieties. Because the Queen visits the exhibition every year.
It is for this reason that buying football clubs, and participate in races ocean-going yachts. Space tourist will immediately become a member of a closed elite club.
Perhaps in a more distant future sustained space tourism will be possible. Again, the key is to RADICALLY reduce the cost to lift payload out of the gravity well. Reusability will help a little but you really need to reduce the cost to mere dollars per pound instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars per pound. Until that happens, space tourism will be nothing more than a cottage industry catering to the super rich.
To create a closed elite club, which by definition can get only the very rich, it is not a constraint.
Dr. Gillian Taylor:
Don’t tell me! You’re from outer space.
No, I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space.
I am Russian and I live in Russia. I do not see anything wrong in wanting to make money for the Russian Space Agency. The only problem is, what to think and move had before. If now Roscosmos has a monopoly on delivery crew to the ISS, the 2018 should start flying already, at least two US manned spacecraft.
Therefore, in the desire I do not see anything wrong, but I think that Roscosmos does not work in this market.
If you are really a Russian man, then you should also proud and praise your leader Putin, which is a great hope for all conservative, non-left, not by Western-liberal propaganda brain-washed men in Europe, which would like to be not depended from US imperium.
Then the Germans in Germany were in 1945 to praise Hitler.
I perfectly see that Putin has destroyed the Russian state institutions and leads her toward death. I laugh at your enthusiasm regarding the neo-fascist Fuhrer. And by the way, why do you admire his anti-Americanism?
Please note you write “The US has its own purpose,” and I have to answer you, “Putin has its own purpose.” That’s the difference – Putin’s goals are not in Russia’s prosperity or well-being of its citizens. Putin’s goal – the expansion of the personal power of Putin.
Matt, I was born in Russia, more than half a century lived here, and my mother taught me the Russian language, when I was a kid. So I perfectly understand that Putin said. Also, I see perfectly that the action of strong foreign propaganda.
Inside Russia for Russians said something quite different. Says that we, Russian, always won, that we – the special people carrying the special “spirituality” (just like “Aryan spirit”) that we need special laws, and that the Russian people do not need democracy and liberalism. And our claims are not limited to the borders of Russia, we are fighting for “Russian World” (“Das Reich” would be correct), which include not only some of the countries of the former USSR, but also part of the California and Alaska.
We are not satisfied with the current world order, we need vassals that their internal politics and economics will build on our orders. We are not satisfied with European antitrust law. And we all have a right to it, because we have nuclear weapons, and we are ready to “limited use” it in local conflicts.
If this self-defense I – the ballerina at the Bolshoi Theatre.
The U.S. is not an imperialist, it’s a hegemon. Russia has long been an actual, as opposed to rhetorical, empire and, lately, seems embarked on rebuiding the old iron dream. You are, IIRC, an Austrian. The U.S. might have left your country as part of the expanded post-WW2 Soviet Empire back in 1945, but we prevailed on the Soviets to leave instead. Did we make a mistake?
NASA’s ISS budget is $3-4 billion per year. What is Russia’s (yeah, I realize how clouded that answer might be) ISS budget? How much do they need to supplement government money? How much to replace NASA dollars (the seat cost plus whatever extras we pay to have NASA guys live there… which might be a consdierable fee – I bet they charge for each NASA doctor that visits and for any seats for NASA at Mission Control)? How much would Russia need to have a completely “commercial” ISS program (not that it’ll ever happen, but it’s an interesting thought experiement)? And finally, what percentage of the American dollars are just skimmed into Russian bank accounts?
In 2013-2014 russian budget for ISS was about $1,5-2 billion p/yr of total $5 billion Roscosmos budget. Now it’s two times less.
Interesting. We’re you giving those figures in rubles or dollars? You used the $ symbol, so I’ll assume dollars. The fact that you also said the budget is half implies that the budget is tied to the dollar. It was always around 30:1 (rubles:dollars) until the Crimean crisis, and is now closer to 60:1, which would be a reason the budget isnow half what it used to be.
I mean US dollars 🙂
Space tourism is obscene and a dead end. The space station to nowhere is the money hole in LEO that birthed the abomination of NewSpace. It has set space exploration back a decade at least and the damage is accumulating. I thoroughly despise all the Ayn-Rand-in-Space bizarro Musk cultists who contaminate public forums with their vicious bullying and toxic propaganda.
It is a struggle between the bright future promised by true space advocates like Gerard K. O’Neill and the ripping off of taxpayers by con artist “entrepreneurs” like Elon Musk. So far NewSpace is all anyone is hearing about but sooner or later the house of cards must collapse. Future generations will have nothing but scorn for the gullible deluded space clown wannabe fools that cheered on the flim flam and mobbed critics as humankind was stranded in the dead end of LEO for decades.
You do know that it was your neo-con buddies and the old space that pushed for the ISS. Right?
New space wants out of LEO. Bigelow wants to go to the moon. Musk wants mars. And both are developing this, mostly, on their own dime, as opposed to the old space that you support that lives on the gov. teat esp. with their cost+.
Not really wanting to rush to the Mad Hatter’s defense but I think they only “Neo-Con” thing about him is his love of Apollo type Moon Programs. Unfortunately for him.
I suspect that is true.
I agree with Mr. Church about very little, but, yeah, he is emphatically not any kind of “con” – especially not the neo variety.
He wants the SLS, and to actively kill off private space, esp spacex. That is the exact same position of the neo-cons within the GOP. Note, that the tea party opposes that, but they do not control this. And liberals appear to support all of the above.
As such, he has a 100% neo-con position WRT space.
You don’t know me Windbourne- so all that B.S. makes you a liar. Of course, that is what Musk cultists do- lie their asses off about everything under the sun. They feel entitled to do so- they are such superior creatures the lower forms of life deserve it. Oh yes, I have been dealing with your kind on these forums for years.
I bet with you about a bunch of good beers, that Musk/SpaceX will never send humans to Mars. However, it will take some years to prove it.
I will not argue with you. Does Elon Musk fly to Mars, and whether it had – I do not know. We shall see.
But, regardless of their desires, Elon Musk will pass most of this road. Because low-cost access to LEO – is half the battle. And the rocket engine using methane as a fuel, and does not require a long service between flights – a third of the remaining path. Rocket with this engine can fuel up in orbit. As a result, are becoming unnecessary insanely expensive monster SLS and Orion.
Therefore, even if Elon Musk stop half way, there will be many who want to become a “new Columbus” and give to mankind the New World.
You and Gary have argued that Musk will not be re-using his boosters. Yet, it is obvious that he will be doing it by next year.
In fact, if you want to go shorter, lets make it the moon.
I think that BA and SpaceX will be on the moon before 2025.
That is less than 10 years.
No, do not try to spread wrong facts. I never said that Musk will not (try to) reuse its booster!! I said only that I am sceptical about economic and technical feasibilty due to maintenance efforts and higher then expected loads on thin structures ….
To Moon: I heart that Musk is not interested in the Moon.
Building labs on earth are a dead end ,,, all the earth does is spin in circles..
“New space wants out of LEO.”
“-mostly, on their own dime,-“
You need to read something besides SpaceX propaganda.
You need to read facts.
“Facts” like SpaceX will be on the Moon in ten years. Right. I seem to have missed that news release. I know Falcon Heavy was supposed to fly and dragon was supposed to be carrying astronauts to the space station to nowhere by 2012. The fact is that anyone can say anything and when it does not happen they just make excuses and that is how it is.
Ok, now I understand your problem.
You do not know the difference between facts and guesses.
Well, a fact is something that HAS occurred, or is indisputable.
I.e. it is a fact that we ( mankind ) went to the moon.
OTOH, my offering up a bet to matt about what the future holds is a guess. And in that case, it was a SWAG. Since it based on a future event, it is not a fact.
No wonder why others look down on americans. It is a fact that you have demonstrated that you were not properly educated on the English language, logic, or civility.
“No wonder why others look down on americans.”
I believe the correct sentence would be, “It is no wonder others look down on Americans.” I could be wrong though. Others look down on “ugly Americans” because many display the same arrogance, ignorance, and condescension so common among the NewSpace mob.
You have something to add or are you just being a stupid muppet?
This part from the quote “commercial expeditions to the Russian segment of the ISS”. Made me wonder, are tourists that pay the Russians for a 8-9 day orbital joyride prohibited from entering the non-Russian segments or something?
Personally it would be quite a showstopper (not that I am even remotely rich enough) if I were to field $50M+ for a trip to the ISS and I couldn’t even enter the US segment to take a look out of the windows of the Cupola or look inside a Dragon (if there was one present) for example!
Edit: What sort of restrictions do the space tourists have anyway? I mean, I can understand basic things like: not touching (experiment) equipment and to not bother the crew during their work… but yeah, what are the rules anyway?
Missing out on the Cupola, knowing its riiight over there, would suck.
I’m certain that the crew on board would be gracious enough to at least give them the grand tour. I’m also sure that they get a safety briefing just like every new arrival. You raise a good point, however regarding where they can go and what they can touch and whose food do they eat and where they sleep. I suppose we could always ask Dennis Tito what he did since he’s been there twice.
Not necessarily. IIRC, one of the early tourists, an American (possibly Tito, it was some time ago), noted that the US astronauts wouldn’t even shake his hand when he came aboard.