Japan Embraces Space Tourism
Greg Olsen sits in the cockpit of a Russian jet.
CREDIT: Space Adventures
Space Adventures of Arlington, Virginia has sealed the deal on an exclusive marketing partnership with the Tokyo-based travel agency, JTB Corporation.
The agreement announced today opens wide the door for the Japanese to buy commercial treks into space and related experiences from Space Adventures.
JTB will market a wide array of programs available from Space Adventures, including the recently announced Deep Space Expeditions (DSE-Alpha) mission to the Moon -- the first in a series of lunar missions being offered. That mission could liftoff as early as 2008, according to a Space Adventures press statement.
The cost of trekking to the Moon, rounding it, and heading back to Earth is priced at a "circum-spectacular" cost of $100 million a seat, in U.S. dollars. Two commercial seats per would be available. More good news: A third seat is occupied by a pilot cosmonaut.
The mission would utilize a Russian-supplied, but beefed up Soyuz spacecraft, a design thoroughly shaken out via piloted and unpiloted testing.
Future DSE missions plan to include lunar-orbit and lunar-surface missions.
Among Space Adventures' portfolio of projects is a suborbital program, currently in development, that consists of a four-day training period and a 90-minute spaceflight that gives a passenger up to five minutes of microgravity.
Space Adventures notes that suborbital spaceflights are expected to start in the 2007-08 timeframe. The current price for that activity is $102,000.
Currently, U.S. space tourist, Gregory Olsen of New Jersey, is finishing his orbital spaceflight preparations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.
Olsen is forking up $20 million for a 10-day visit to the International Space Station. His Space Adventures brokered departure is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2005.
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