Cosmonaut interview: "Space tourism will become cheaper within 10 years"

Duty on the planet

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • Space tourists are returning to the ISS, it seems.

Space flight has become more expensive, Kommersant reports. After a 10-year hiatus, Roskomos resumes its space tourism program on the ISS. Dmitry Rogozin's department has signed two contracts with the American company Space Adventures. As it became known to Kommersant FM, a representative of the United Arab Emirates will fly first. And he is allegedly ready to pay twice as much as the first space tourist. How much does an orbital flight cost now and how are space tourists recruited? Aelita Kurmukova found out.

How much does it cost to fly to the ISS?

This seems to be the most important secret of modern astronautics. Of course, we are talking about millions, even tens of millions of dollars, but no one has ever officially confirmed the specific amount. The first space tourist, American Dennis Titto, as the media wrote, paid $ 20 million.

Businessman Sergei Polonsky claims that he was supposed to fly to the ISS for $,

“Either the fourth or the sixth I completed training in Star City, I was fully included in the crew. Due to the fact that “Columbia” fell, training stopped, the program was closed. In 2007, I received a call from Roskosmos, they said that there was a vacancy, and we began the second stage of preparation. And now, when the fittings on the warship began, it turned out that our dashboard differed by 2 cm from the experimental one, my knees did not fit. I paid $ 1.5 million. No, they were not returned, we did not insist on this, although in an amicable way, why not, in fact, return. In fact, this is a puncture by Roskosmos "

Polonsky never flew to the ISS, like his second compatriot, Filaret Galchev. According to unconfirmed reports, the chairman of the board of directors of Eurocement Group himself abandoned space due to financial problems. So there were only foreign tourists on the ISS.

Now the eighth will fly and again not ours, but already for $ 40 million. Although this is half the price paid by NASA and the European Space Agency for the delivery of professional astronauts to the ISS, says Igor Marinin, editor-in-chief of the Novosti Kosmonavtiki magazine.

“Starting this year, the Americans are launching two ships into operation, and they will not need our services, we have vacancies on the ships that we can sell to non-professional astronauts. The first non-professional cosmonauts will already fly with us - a representative of the United Arab Emirates. There are also those who wish for the next year. I cannot say, these are trade secrets.

Roscosmos is currently negotiating with potential clients from several countries, and contracts are at various stages

According to anonymous sources of Kommersant FM, Roscosmos is now negotiating with potential clients from several countries, and contracts are at various stages. And the American company Space Adventures is looking for tourists.

Space tourists return to the ISS, it seems

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • Cosmonaut interview: "Space tourism will become cheaper in 10 years"

Former NASA astronaut Don Thomas made four shuttle flights in the nineties. He spent 44 days in space, circling the Earth 700 times. He explained why we will see humans on Mars earlier than 2041, how the view of the Earth from above changes humans once and for all, and why space tourism will soon become as affordable as a trip to Antarctica.

When did you first decide you wanted to become an astronaut?

It was a childhood dream. I was 6 years old when the first American was launched into space. On May 5, 1961, the gymnasium where I studied let the students go home, and I watched the launch on TV. I immediately realized that I wanted to do it myself. The following year, John Glen flew around the ground. He became one of my heroes. Several years later, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Glen and Armstrong were from my home state of Ohio. It cheered me up. As I grew up, my desire to become an astronaut grew stronger and stronger.

Have you always been confident that you will achieve your dream?

I didn't know for sure, but no one told me that I could not do this and no one tried to dissuade me. When I was in high school, America launched the first space station (Skylab, 1973). Scientists and astronauts were on board the station. I loved science. I understood in which direction I need to move.

How did you react when you were approved for the shuttle mission of the year?

I was first approved as an astronaut 4 years earlier. They call you and tell you that you are included in the program. I remember that day very clearly. I jumped up and down and screamed. I was 35.

How can you describe the feeling during launch?

This is incredibly interesting. You cannot believe where you are and what you are about to do. You put on your seat belt and feel a little anxious, but have absolutely no idea how you will feel when the launch begins.

I remember my first time. I could feel the vibration and roar of the engines, then I felt the jolt of the Shuttle as it fell off. It seemed to me that someone's hand was pushing me in the back. At that moment I knew - this is my way. I had a helmet on my head and no one could hear me. I screamed with happiness. I bet Tim Piquet did the same. This is an incredible moment!

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Space Center now has a simulated launch into space simulator. I wish I had anything like this during my training. it shakes you, flips you and whirls you. It lends experience.

Space flights, space tourism, astronautics and robotics news

On May 30, 2020, for the first time in a long time, an American manned spacecraft with astronauts on board went to the International Space Station. This flight allowed the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, to announce tourist flights into orbit, which are scheduled for next year. The names of the first six lucky ones will be known in about a month.

He flew!

On May 30, 2020, a manned spacecraft developed by the commercial organization SpaceX successfully flew to the ISS. For the United States, this is the first independent launch of astronauts in the past nine years.

It should be noted that the flight was originally planned on May 27, but weather conditions prevented the launch.

As a result, the launch had to be postponed for 3 days. On May 30, at 22:22 Moscow time, Crew Dragon took off, and the spacecraft docked with the ISS on the 31st. On board were two American astronauts - Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

The NASA website was broadcast live from the launch site, which was watched by almost the whole world, including US President Donald Trump. The Crew Dragon flight was a real breakthrough for the development of astronautics in America, because, as Vladimir Putin noted, against the background of the use of Russian Soyuz, its own flights became a kind of a matter of honor for the United States.

The first space tourists

In connection with the successful flight of Crew Dragon, Elon Musk announced the start of space tourism in the United States. The first travelers will go to the ISS in 2021, but at the moment their names are unknown. Today, active negotiations are underway with potential participants, and in total, in the near future, two commercial flights are planned, the launch of which will be carried out at intervals of six months.

At the same time, there will be four people on the Crew Dragon: the crew commander and three travelers.

It should be noted that tourist space flights are a commercial order from Axiom Space. The company previously promised to develop four separate modules for the ISS, which could accommodate tourists. The launch of the first of them is planned for 2024.

Thus, in the near future the ISS will turn not only into a research station, but also into a tourist point.

Let us remind you that the planned space flights in 2021 are not the first in history. Between 2001 and 2009, seven tourists have already flown to the ISS, including the American Charles Simonyi.

A little about pricing

Cosmos Agency • Space tourism • Space tourism prices. How much does it cost to fly into space?

On October 5, 2016, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin company successfully tested the crew rescue system: the New Shepard rocket gained altitude, after which the capsule, which will contain space tourists, separated and gently swooped down on three parachutes. The booster rocket itself landed nearby after reaching an altitude of 100 km. This is the fifth and final launch of this rocket, after which it was installed in the Blue Origin Museum, and a new copy took its place.

After all the successful tests of the New Shepard rocket, it seemed that this company would send the first suborbital space tourists, overtaking its closest competitor - the company of billionaire Richard Branson Virgin Galactic.

However, as of 2019, it is Branson who is ready to launch the first space tourists on suborbital flights to an altitude of 100 km, while Bezos and his brainchild Blue Origin continue to pull rubber.

What do we have?

The closest competitors from Russia are preparing to conquer suborbital altitudes of 200 kilometers, which is two times higher than the supply of the Americans, but the high cost and complexity of developing a reusable rocket postpones the time of the first CosmoCurs flight to 2025.

By the way, Pavel Pushkin, the head of the aforementioned space company, predicts the same price as for Western colleagues - 250,000 US dollars. Do not be discouraged, there are cheaper options and are already taking orders, more on them later.

So how much does it cost to go into space?

The images below show brief data on the price, flight parameters, brief description and operation diagrams of the vehicles.

One ticket for a Virgin Galactic spaceship costs $ 250,000. Many celebrities managed to reserve tickets several years ago, but after the 2014 accident, some have withdrawn their reservations. Virgin reported 700 reservations. To learn more about the offer, see Space Tourism Today, Part 1. Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace

When you have a lot of money

After Elon Musk sent Crew Dragon to the ISS, young people again became interested in space. But are there projects in our country that will help maintain and develop this interest? It turns out, yes. Our blogger, a tenth grader from St. Petersburg, Polina Romanova, has chosen 5 educational projects that will help any schoolchild in Russia to become a part of the space industry.

Education is prestige. Everything connected with it becomes a value for us. The higher the status of the university, the better the job, the broader the connections, the more diverse the skills. But you must admit that not everyone gets access to education under equal conditions: people in Russia are not concentrated in Moscow, but are distributed with varying density from Kaliningrad to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. However, life in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan or Novosibirsk does not always save one from a lack of awareness. Such a sad story that we are all not equal and cannot be equal.

I would very much like to write about what can be significant for schoolchildren, namely, about their capabilities. What for? First, to show that everything in Russia is not as disgusting and boring as it seems. We have many projects worthy of attention. We have many initiatives. Spoiler alert: few people know about them, since attention is usually directed not in this direction. Secondly, it's great if as many people as possible are familiar with the development paths that are open to them. I really like the slogan "Horizontal Russia", which is not so much about the obviously impossible equality as about the availability of opportunities.

So, let's get to the point. Today I would like to write about educational projects that are related to space technology and which you can easily join. It is enough to be ready to learn new things and change your old self. Important note: participation in all programs listed below is free. Isn't it great?

NTI Olympiad, profiles "Aerospace systems" and "Engineering of space systems"

The NTI Olympiad is a competition that is primarily associated not with solving problems in school physics, mathematics and computer science, but with working on problems that are being dealt with by engineers from Roscosmos or the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation. Have you ever assembled a rover? And the satellite? The NTI Olympiad proposes to do this with a team of like-minded people. By the way, participation will be beneficial not only from the point of view of personal development, but will also help in entering the university: the Aerospace Systems profile gives 100 points in one of the USE exams.

The Olympiad is held in three stages, the first two of which the participant decides from home, and the third is the final at the Olympiad site in one of the cities of Russia. Flight and accommodation are paid by the organizers.

Planet Duty

Space Engineering Competition Program. Here, too, everything is serious: program participants assemble robots, develop rockets, set up scientific experiments, analyze geodata and design satellites. It sounds scary, but all engineers once moved from school tasks to real projects that will help people and solve significant problems of humanity. Some of the participants after the programs of "Duty" are already patenting their inventions and writing scientific articles, and this personally inspires me very much.

6 documentaries about how humans explore space

Usually contests of the "Duty of the Planet" are held in several stages, which include not only problem solving, but also training. Participants will be able to master 3D modeling or, for example, programming in Python or C ++. The final is held at the Sirius EC in Sochi or in another city with the support of Sirius. And yes, travel and accommodation at the expense of the organizers.

Future Practices

A community of mobile schools whose members create projects with potential for the future. For example, last year the organizers held an event in Chelyabinsk. The participants designed a school, educational residence, ecovillage and festival for the city of Sysert. This year, unfortunately, due to the beginning of quarantine, a school in Orlyonok on neurotechnology, aerospace technologies and Earth remote sensing systems did not take place (do not be alarmed, this terrible phrase only means devices that take pictures of the Earth from space).

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