More Soyuz seats for orbital space tourists?

The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported today that officials with RSC Energia say the company is ready to double the production of Soyuz spacecraft. The increased production is necessary, the article states, in order to support six-person crews on the International Space Station. What makes this report interesting, though, is how Energia plans to pay for the increased production: through unspecified foreign investment, with the endorsement of the Russian space agency Roskosmos (which effectively controls Energia.) According to a Roskosmos official, “foreign investors were seeking reserved seats on Russian Soyuz craft in exchange for their investment.” Who these foreign investors are, and what they plan to do with those seats, may determine if there are more opportunities for orbital space tourists in the future, either through Space Adventures or another company.

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