Russian Space Agency denies plans of tourist flights to Moon

Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has denied having any plans to organize tourist flights to the Moon.

Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has denied having any plans to organize tourist flights to the Moon.

"Roscosmos isn't working on any such programs. That's an initiative from private companies and corporations," Roscosmos deputy head Denis Lyskov told Interfax-AVN in a comment on media reports that there plans to organize a tourist flight around the Moon on board a Soyuz spacecraft.

Earlier, the head of Russia's Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, Vitaly Lopota, had told Interfax-AVN that it would be a feasible task for a Soyuz to fly around the moon within the next few years.

Lopota was commenting on a report posted on the website of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that cited Space Adventures President Tom Shelley as saying his company had signed contracts with two individuals whose names were not disclosed on flying them around the Moon as tourists aboard a Soyuz.

The Soyuz's liftoff is possible in 2017 or 2018, the craft must be piloted by a Russian cosmonaut, and one seat aboard the craft costs $150 million, according to Shelley.

Meanwhile, British singer Sarah Brightman is getting ready for a 10-day tourist stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), for which she is due to set off on October 4, 2015.

Brightman is due to start a course at Russia's Cosmonaut Training Center on January 12, 2015. Her fellow travelers will be Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov and European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen.

Space Adventures is the marketing agent for the organization of Soyuz tourist flights to the ISS.

American Dennis Tito, who went to the ISS in 2001, became the first space tourist. Mark Shuttleworth, who is a dual South African/British citizen, was the number two, going to the station in 2002. In 2005, the station hosted one more tourist, American Gregory Olsen. In 2006, the first woman tourist, Iranian-born American Anousheh Ansari, arrived at the ISS. Each of them paid about $20 million for their trip.

The next tourist was Hungarian-American Charles Simonyi, who visited the ISS in 2007. Having revisited the station in March 2009, Somonyi is the only person to have made two tourist space flights.

Richard Garriott, a dual British/American citizen and the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, made a tourist flight to the ISS in 2008. Garriott paid $30 million for his childhood dream to come true, having raised the money via his business of video game development, which he abandoned after returning from space.

Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberte, co-founder and chief executive of Cirque de Soleil, traveled to the ISS as the next tourist late in 2009, paying more than $50 million for his flight.

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