Russia considering $100 million tourist spacewalks


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Roscosmos is considering offering future space tourists the chance to do their own spacewalk for $100 million price tag.

“We are discussing the possibility of sending tourists on spacewalks,” Vladimir Solntsev, the head of Russian space company Energia, told Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda. “Market analysts have confirmed this: wealthy people are ready to pay money for this,” Solntsev told the paper.

He said the cost of such a trip could be around $100m (€80m), “possibly less for the first tourist”. The tourists will be able to “go out on a spacewalk and make a film, (or) a video clip”.

The article also reiterates Russia’s plan to put tourist accommodations in its next ISS module.

While the original news source for this story, Pravda, is generally not very trustworthy, I tend to believe this. It is definitely doable, and would give the Russians another way to make money, faced with the reality that they will soon be losing NASA as a customer for flying its astronauts to ISS. It also demonstrates that Russia recognizes that it will not be able to charge tourists the $75-$90 million or so per ticket it has been charging NASA. NASA was over a barrel, and thus the Russians could jack up the price. Tourists however will have the option of walking away, and thus the price per ticket will have to come down. For Russia to get the same money, they will need to offer more.

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7 comments

  • Lee S

    I read this piece this morning and was confused by the “currently building a new module dubbed NEM-2 to transport tourists to the International Space Station (ISS)“ comment….
    I suppose they mean “house” rather than “transport “… sloppy reporting on the Guardians part.

  • Lee S: I think this article was written by a reporter who really knows nothing about space, and simply copied what was in the Pravda article. Pravda meanwhile since the fall of the Soviet Union has become a Russian version of the World Weekly News, so many stories in it cannot be trusted and often have some basic errors.

    That said, I suspect this story is actually true.

  • Matt in AZ

    It’s not too often Pravda actually lives up to its name. “Truth”, the most Orwellian name for a government-run newspaper imaginable.

  • geoffc

    The Russian plan for ISS is to deliver Nauka to replace Pirs on the Zarya nadir port. (Middle of Russian segment, earth facing). They have ‘owed’ this for almost 10 years now and are very late.

    Next they launch the OM docking ball, which has 6 ports. Then they launch NEM-2 and whatever other modules (up to 4) to use the OM ports.

    When the ISS goes away, Nauka, OM, and whatever else is removed from the station and stays as a standalone station. WHether they take Zarya or not is not clear yet.

    Thus their current (late) delivery of modules is building their next station, which the ISS as the starting point.

  • I think the Russians have missed the boat on this. $100M just for the ride (the cost of the spacewalk is probably incidental compared to the launch cost)? Falcon 9 currently goes for about $65M per launch, and I don’t see them charging $35M more to loft a person. For likely much less than the Russian’s are talking about, you get the same ride, and Musk may let you take the 1st stage home for an additional fee. Heck, if you live in the right place, SpaceX could land the rocket on your property. For that price, SpaceX may be flying tourists before the Russians (I know Red Star Tours has flown tourists, but not for nine figures).

  • wayne

    Matt in AZ;
    playing off your thought…

    “The miserable former citizens of the old Soviet Union had an expression – “There is no Pravda in Izvestiya and there is no Izvestiya in Pravda” – which, roughly translated, reads “There is no Truth in News and there is no News in Truth.” Pravda was the news organization of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and Izvestiya was the news organization of the Soviet government. Pravda is “Truth” in Russian and Izvestiya is “News.”
    [http://canadafreepress.com/article/there-is-no-pravda-in-izvestia]

  • pzatchok

    Well if the Russians are hoping to break even at this price that gives us and rough estimate of what their launches truely cost them.

    !00 million per launch on old 70’s tech. Equipment that has been built tested and launched hundreds of times.

    A hundred mill is a bit pricy. Especially for a boring cramped stay in a smelly tube just to put on a smelly stiff uncomfortable space suit and step outside into space for a bit. You eventually realise your just in a smaller space capsule and far more uncomfortable.

    A hundred million dollars for bragging rights doesn’t seem like such a bargan then.

    Now 100 thousand for a space burial would be pretty good. You could pack maybe 50 to 100 bags of cremation dust into the trunk of the return vehicle and have it burn up in the atmosphere on re-entry after seperation.

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