Deal expands commercial travel to ISS

Jan. 12, 2011 at 3:06 PM
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VIENNA, Va., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- A U.S. company, Space Adventures, says it struck a deal to offer tourists a chance to go to the International Space Station.

The arrangement between Space Adventures, the Russian Federal Space Agency and Rocket Space Corporation Energia designates three seats on the Soyuz spacecraft for commercial passengers, the Vienna, Va., company said Wednesday in a release. Space Adventures didn't disclose its financial arrangement or how much it will charge its customers.

The flights will last about 10 days and will contribute to the increase of launch capacity to the space station, the company said.

"We are extremely excited to announce this agreement and would like to thank our Russian partners in increasing Soyuz production and providing Space Adventures these well sought-after transportation services on the only commercially available manned spacecraft currently in operation," Space Adventures Chairman Eric Anderson said. "We have been speaking with these parties about science, education and multi-media programs ... ."

Space Adventures became known 10 years ago with the launch of Dennis Tito, the world's first privately funded space explorer. Since then, the company has arranged seven more missions to the space station.

"Cumulatively, our clients have spent almost three months in space, traveling over 36 million miles," Anderson said. "(They) have been true ambassadors in sharing their experience and explaining to millions of people around the world why it's important to explore space."

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