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Thursday, June 12, 2008

First-ever multi-person space vacation confirmed for 2011

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The company that's lofted customers to the International Space Station on five separate occasions announced today that it will launch the first private multi-person mission to the ISS in the second half of 2011.

Space Adventures announced that the 2011 flight will be a fully dedicated mission, with two Russian Soyuz-TMA spacecraft seats available for private space explorers.

Previous single-space-tourist flights have cost a reported $20 million US.

Seats used for something besides people?
The first full-blown private "mission" to the ISS (as opposed to single paying customers tagging along in seats on missions earmarked for space station construction) will be offered to businesses, organizations, and institutions, as well as individual explorers.

"For the last decade, Space Adventures' orbital spaceflight program has provided the only opportunity for private individuals to fly in space, conduct research in a sustained zero gravity environment and experience the beauty of seeing the Earth from humanity's only orbiting outpost," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.

Space Adventures first grabbed headlines in 2001 when it brokered the launch of business tycoon Dennis Tito, the world's first privately funded spaceflight participant.

Google in spaaaace...
Google co-founder Sergey Brin is hoping to buy one of the seats on the 2011 flight.

As well, Space Adventures' sixth orbital spaceflight client, video game designer Richard Garriott, son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, is currently in cosmonaut training with his launch to the ISS scheduled for October 12, 2008.

"We are very pleased to continue working with Space Adventures into the foreseeable future. This method for growing our commercial partnership with Space Adventures is beneficial for all parties. The Soyuz to be used for this mission shall be a specially manufactured craft, separate from the other Soyuz vehicles designated for the transportation of the ISS crews," said Alexey B. Krasnov, FSA. "This private mission, flying two Space Adventures' clients at once, will not interfere with the implementation of the ISS program or the obligations of the Russian space agency; on the contrary, it shall add flexibility and redundancy to our ISS transportation capabilities."

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