It’s who you know: Russia has sold Kazakhstan Sarah Brightman’s space tourist seat at a price more than a third less than it charges NASA.
Kazakhstan will pay a mere $20 million to send an astronaut to the International Space Station on a Russian rocket — less than half the sum reportedly asked of a British passenger to make the same trip and less than one-third of the price routinely paid by NASA for U.S. astronauts, news agency RIA Novosti reported Wednesday, citing a Kazakh space agency official.
Tourists pay somewhere around $35 million while NASA pays $75 million. Kazakhstan, however, owns Russia’s spaceport Baikonur, so they have some leverage in the negotiations. Moreover, there are hints that it won’t have to lay out any cash at all, and that the fee will simply be deducted from the $115 million annual rent that Russia pays.