For $3 million, be an understudy

Space Adventures announced today that, for the first time, it is selling the opportunity to be the backup crew member for one of its Soyuz space tourists. For $3 million, that person would go through the same six-month training program in Russia as Richard Garriott, the company’s next orbital customer; they are particularly interested in someone who can not only afford the training but also “is able to be an active participant in Richard’s mission, to include being featured in a documentary TV series,” according to Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson. (The press release also points out that Anousheh Ansari was originally training in 2006 as a backup to Daisuke Enomoto, but got to fly when Enomoto suffered some kind of medical problem.) And, yes, that $3 million can be “credited in-full” towards a future orbital or even lunar spaceflight, Anderson added. Time would appear to be of the essence, since Garriott plans to start training in Russia after the first of the year.

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