Space Adventures Ltd., a U.S. company that arranges space tourism, said it agreed with Russia to expand flight opportunities starting in 2013, after a 2009 voyage by Cirque du Soleil’s founder sparked demand.
Three seats for flights to the International Space Station will become available after Russia adds a fifth Soyuz spacecraft to the current four per year, the Vienna, Virginia-based company said in a statement on its website today.
Space Adventures signed the agreement to offer the commercial flights with Russia’s Federal Space Agency and OAO Rocket & Space Corporation Energia, which develops and manufactures manned spacecraft, according to the statement.
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, the seventh space tourist to fly to the station aboard a Soyuz, paid more than $35 million to spend nine days on the International Space Station in 2009, and said it was “worth every penny,” even with the physical challenge of being in orbit.
“Since Guy Laliberte’s mission, there has been an increase of interest by private individuals, organizations and commercial entities seeking ways to access the space station,” Eric Anderson, chief executive officer of closely held Space Adventures, said in the statement.
Investment manager Dennis Tito was the world’s first space tourist in 2001, paying Space Adventures $20 million for the trip.
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