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Russia Set To Return To Space Tourism, Approves Flight For Japanese Tourists

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) –  The Russian state commission (Roscosmos) has authorised the launch of a Soyuz-2.1, a rocket with a Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft, which will carry two Japanese space tourists.

Roscosmos on Tuesday said Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano, along with famous Russian cosmonaut, Alexander Misurkin will leave for orbit on Wednesday.

Roscosmos in a statement said “the State Commission has appointed the prime and backup crews of the Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft.

“In addition, the readiness of the Soyuz-2 rocket and ground infrastructure has been confirmed for launch on Dec. 8’’.

The launch of the spacecraft with businessman Maezawa, his assistant Hirano and the professional Russian cosmonaut is scheduled for 10.38 Moscow time (07.38 GMT) on Wednesday.

Docking with the International Space Station will take place at 16.41 Moscow time (13.41 GTM).

The crew is expected to return to Earth on Dec. 20.

The tourists will participate in the scientific programme on the station, as well as carry out assignments from the list of “100 Things You Want MZ To Do In Space!”

Merzawa and Hiran will film everything they do and upload it to YouTube.

The crew will also bring to the station New Year’s gifts for the Russian crew members, prop for their missions, as well as dishes of Japanese cuisine adapted for consumption in space.

Maezawa and Hirano will become the first tourists in 12 years to fly to the ISS in a Soyuz spacecraft.

In 2001-2009, Soyuz spacecraft delivered seven tourists to the ISS under contracts with the American space tourism company, Space Adventures.

The crew twice included the American entrepreneur, Charles Simonyi.

According to various sources, the tourists paid between $20 million to $40 million for their space flights.

In September, Sergey Kostenko, the head of the Russian office of Space Adventures said that the flight of Japanese tourists on a Soyuz spacecraft will cost around $50 million.

Nowadays, tourists can also get into space on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft or the New Shepard by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.


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