Russia’s Roscosmos to send a pair of space tourists to International Space station in 2021

A handout picture made available by NASA and taken by US astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station (ISS) on 07 October 2015 shows an aurora looming over Planet Earth. The Aurora Borealis, or Nothern Lights, have been visible this week. EPA/SCOTT KELLY / NASA. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Aug 3, 2020, RT. Roscosmos, Russia’s national space agency, will partner with an American firm to send two space tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) next year. Their names will not be disclosed until early 2021, Russia Today reported.

The launch will be carried out in partnership with US-based Space Adventures and is scheduled to take place late next year. Roscosmos signed a contract with the American company in February 2019, agreeing to send two tourists into space by 2022.

The Russian agency has already begun work on a Soyuz-MS spacecraft and a Soyuz-2 carrier missile for the planned space trip. The tourists are covering all expenses related to the flight, Roscosmos said.

The two lucky (and presumably very wealthy) travelers won’t be the first tourists to have the honor of visiting the ISS, however. Roscosmos and Space Adventures partnered in 2001 to send the world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito, to the ISS. The voyage reportedly cost Tito $20 million.

Russia temporarily halted tourist flights to space in 2009, after ISS crews grew in size and there were no longer extra seats for civilian adventurers. British soprano Sarah Brightman was scheduled to make the journey in 2015, but she canceled before the launch took place.

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