Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No More Space Tourists After 2009

MOSCOW — Russia's space chief says there won't be any more tourists headed to the international space station after this year.

Anatoly Perminov tells the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta there will be no room for paying tourists because the space station's crew is expanding from three members to six.

Perminov says in the interview published Wednesday that "there won't be any possibility for making tourist flights to the station after 2009."

Since 2001, six private "spaceflight participants" have paid $20 million and up for trips to the orbiting station aboard Russian-built craft.

U.S. software designer Charles Simonyi is scheduled to be last such space tourist — and the first to make to two flights — when he blasts off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in March.