Two ISS crewmembers to remain aboard for one year to make space for tourists

A Russian cosmonaut and a U.S. astronaut will remain to work on board the International Space Station (ISS) for a year to enable a flight into space for one or two tourists, a source from the space rocket industry told Interfax-AVN.

"Two cosmonauts, a Russian and an American, are due to be sent on a year-long mission to the ISS in 2015. They will spend about a year in orbit, which is twice the current length of expeditions," the source said.

The U.S. has also chosen its astronaut: Peggy Whitson, who has experience of two space flights and six spacewalks. She is the first female ISS crew commander. Very soon Whitson will quit the post as NASA's Chief Astronaut to engage in preparations for the long expedition.

Russia has yet to decide on the cosmonaut who will join the long mission.

"The long expedition's flight will create space on board the Soyuz spacecraft, which will still continue flying to the ISS with the same frequency as now, i.e. four times a year. Most likely, spare spaces will be sold to space tourists," the source said.

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