Mixed messages on Russian space tourism

So how eager are Russians to fly tourists on their Soyuz missions to the ISS? One answer comes from Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov, who invited Indians to buy rides to the ISS as tourists while on a trip to India. “You could be a space tourist, if you have the money,” Ivanov said, according to the Indian newspaper The Hindu.

Other Russians aren’t so fond of flying tourists on such flights. In a commentary published by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Andrei Kislyakov criticizes the practice, saying that the Russian program “badly needs experienced and practiced professionals rather than amateurs.” the money such tourists provide, at about $20 million each, helps the Russian space agency, Kislyakov admits, but the small number of tourists means that the money “cannot be viewed as a sizeable contribution to the Russian space effort.”

Kislyakov, however, is much more supportive of suborbital space tourism, calling it “safer and cheaper” than orbital flights, and complementing the US for passing laws to clear the way for such flights. “We therefore see that Russia needs only American wisdom to rid its space research program of deadwood, and spare space tourists from excessive G-loads.”

1 comment to Mixed messages on Russian space tourism

  • Van Humphries

    I experienced some cultural insight into this sentiment first-hand, while speaking with a former Russian citizen. The Russian space program has historically been a great source of pride and feelings of prestige and the fact that seats are being sold to “amateurs” is viewed by at least one Russian as an example of what a former superpower has been reduced to. I countered by stating that they are better capitalists in the space tourism arena than the Americans, but my point was lost . . . to some extent they are selling seats because they have to.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>