6 April 2010
News - Vehicles (Good)
Energiya to Build Six-Person Craft
Three seats for for tourists
by Carol Pinchefsky
Energiya, the go-to manufacturer for the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), is planning to build a six-person craft, which will have room for three space tourists.

Vitaly Lopota, director of Energiya, told RT “…the first unmanned test flight will be carried out in 2015. The first manned flight is scheduled for 2018.”

Although the vehicle will be built with space tourism in mind--less acceleration force and seats for three passengers--Energiya will not be creating a dedicated tourist craft, at least not in the near future. The company is currently building a module for the International Space Station ( ISS), which it must operate until 2020.

Energiya has been involved with the Russian (former Soviet) space industry since 1946. Among its many accomplishments: it developed the Sputnik program, the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Vostok and Soyuz spacecraft, Mir, and several modules aboard the ISS.

Lopota said, “If there are people ready to pay tens of millions of dollars for a space flight, we will not refuse them – instead they will be welcomed.”

This is a mixed blessing. NASA has a “no space tourism” policy, while Roscosmos has actively courted space tourists. But as Energiya is the only company that has the capability of sending people to the ISS, there is no competition to bring down prices.
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Carol Pinchefsky 6 April 2010
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