Russia is firing up its space tourism programme again 6 years ago

Russia is firing up its space tourism programme again

Russia is sending tourists into space again - not as part of some bizarre plot to annex the International Space Station like it did to Crimea, but to make up for an expected drop in the demand for manned rocket flights from commercial and government partners.

The Russian space tourist programme has sent seven paying guests into orbit since 2001 before being canned in 2009 when the US Space Shuttle was mothballed, meaning that their Soyuz capsules had to pick up the slack in sending astronauts to the ISS.

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Planned flights to the ISS involving crew will be scaled back over the next few years, meaning that money can be made from billionaires with too much time on their hands.

From 2018, you will be able to pay for a day-trip into space again - but it will cost you at least $20m. (We're going to book a seat each - is that OK, boss?)

The Russian space agency is making one non-commercial flight later this year, when British soprano Sarah Brightman blasts off on a mission to sing live from the ISS in September.

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