Space Adventures, a U.S. space tourism company, has booked two passenger seats on a Russian Soyuz capsule headed to the International Space Station in 2023, and one of those tourists will take part in a spacewalk.
The flight will launch on a Russian Soyuz rocket in a deal with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. It is the second upcoming Soyuz flight for Space Adventures — the company has booked two Soyuz seats for passengers on a launch in 2021, also to the International Space Station (ISS).
"We have signed a contract with Energia [a subset of Roscosmos] that will allow two spaceflight participants to visit the ISS for 14 days and will move forward once we have identified and contracted with customers," Stacey Tearne, a Space Adventures spokesperson, said in an email to Space.com. "During their stay, one of the participants will have an opportunity to conduct a spacewalk."
Space Adventures has flown seven wealthy passengers on eight trips to the space station between 2001 and 2009. (One customer, Microsoft co-founder Charles Simonyi, flew twice.) Those flights reportedly ranged in cost from $20 million to $35 million per trip.
In 2006, Space Adventures offered spacewalks to its spaceflight participants for an extra cost of $15 million for a 90-minute excursion. But such a flight never occurred.
Tearne and Space Adventures did not say how much the addition of a spacewalk opportunity would cost or other details surrounding that piece of the agreement. According to the Roscosmos statement, a Russian cosmonaut would accompany the tourist out of the airlock.
"A private citizen completing a spacewalk would be another huge step forward in private spaceflight," Eric Anderson, CEO of Space Adventures, said in a company statement. "We appreciate the chance to celebrate two decades of orbital space tourism with our Russian partners by opening up another first-ever experience."
Earlier this year, Space Adventures purchased four seats on a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule into orbit around Earth for up to five days, a flight that could launch as early as late next year, company representatives said at the time.
- Photos: The first space tourists
- Gallery: Space Adventures' suborbital rocket ride
- Earth's beauty from space: Q&A with 'space clown' Guy Laliberte
For a limited time, you can take out a digital subscription to any of our best-selling science magazines for just $2.38 per month, or 45% off the standard price for the first three months.