Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has announced plans to take two tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023, one of whom will have the chance to carry out a spacewalk. The individual who takes up this challenge will become the first private citizen ever to experience the infinite vacuum that is open space, heralding in a new age in space tourism.
The trip will be facilitated by spacecraft manufacturer Energia, the prime developer for Russia’s crewed spaceflight program. In the past few days, the firm signed a contract with a US-based company, Space Adventures, which has previously arranged for seven private tourists to visit the ISS aboard Russian spacecraft.
Space Adventures has yet to reveal a price tag for this unique experience, although it is likely to fall somewhere in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Up until the first crewed rocket to launch from US soil in nearly a decade launched last month, it cost NASA $80 million per seat on the Russian Soyuz rockets to launch its astronauts to the ISS.
Prospective buyers will be screened for suitability, and the chosen candidate will then undergo six months of training at Russia’s Star City complex before heading into orbit. Accompanied by a Russian cosmonaut, the tourist will complete a 90-minute spacewalk, and will be required to spend an extra week aboard the ISS conducting various activities related to the walk.
Numerous other firms are currently hatching plans to send tourists into space. SpaceX, for example, expects to take private citizens to the ISS next year, traveling aboard the Crew Dragon, the historic spacecraft that recently launched the American astronauts to the space station from US soil, on the first-ever Commercial Crew Program mission. The company is also hoping to take a group of tourists on a trip around the Moon in 2023, which is shaping up to be a groundbreaking year for the space tourism sector.
If you feel you've been priced out of the chance to travel to space without the inconvenience of training as an astronaut, you could hop on this space balloon, which will take you 100,000 feet up to the stratosphere for a mere $125,000.