Update on Russia and Space Adventures

To update my earlier post, I spoke briefly yesterday with Eric Anderson of Space Adventures to try and clarify any apparent contradictions between the company’s announcements and statements by the Russian space agency Roskosmos. Anderson said that Perminov’s statement that he had “no information about such plans” was reference to reports about Sergey Brin flying to the station; Space Adventures, in fact, has not formally informed the Russians about Brin since he had not signed up for a specific flight yet. Perminov was apparently responding to some reports that Brin was going to be the next space tourist, which is not what Space Adventures announced last week.

As for the “space tourism will be temporarily suspended” statement, Anderson said Perminov was referring to the period when the station crew size increases to six, which will make it more difficult to find a seat for a commercial passenger. “I’m not prepared to say it’s impossible,” he said, “but it is significantly more difficult.” Space Adventures does still have another flight opportunity in the spring of 2009, Anderson confirmed, but has not announced a customer for that mission.

One other note: at the press conference last week, Brin was announced as the first member of Space Adventures’ “Orbital Mission Explorers Circle”. Anderson said that “within one hour” of that announcement, he had signed up the second member of that group, but did not identify that individual.

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