Space Adventures, the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that it has finalized an arrangement with its long-standing partner, the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA), to launch the first private mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2011.
This private spaceflight opportunity will be a fully dedicated mission of the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft with two seats available for private space explorers, along with a comprehensive package of mission services including science, education and media program options. The first private mission to the ISS is offered to not only individual explorers, but also to businesses, organizations and institutions.
“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. “We have had the pleasure of fulfilling the dreams of the only five private space explorers in history, and now I am pleased to announce that our orbital program is expanding with more opportunities for spaceflight missions into the next decade.”
Space Adventures became world renowned in 2001 with the launch of client Dennis Tito, the world’s first privately-funded spaceflight participant. Since then, the company has launched four other individuals to space. Space Adventures’ sixth orbital spaceflight client, Richard Garriott, son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, is currently in cosmonaut training with his launch to the ISS scheduled for October 12, 2008.
Under the new arrangement, Space Adventures will contribute to the increase of launch capacity to the ISS, demonstrating its long-term commitment to contract for additional private missions through the lifespan of the space station.
“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.”
Spaceflight participants will train as other private space explorers have, and the launch is scheduled for the second half of 2011.
Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers – Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari and Charles Simonyi – is headquartered in Vienna, Va. with an office in Moscow. It offers a variety of programs including spaceflight missions to the International Space Station and around the moon, Zero-Gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company’s advisory board includes Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin; Shuttle astronauts Sam Durrance, Tom Jones, Byron Lichtenberg, Norm Thagard, Kathy Thornton, Pierre Thuot and Charles Walker; Skylab/Shuttle astronaut Owen Garriott; and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev.