The new colonial movement: Glavkosmos, the commercial division of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, has announced that it is now making available for sale to passengers up to four seats on the Soyuz capsule.
Roscosmos has previously sold such seats through a long-standing relationship with American company Space Adventures. In December, Glavkosmos tweeted its plans to start selling seats, which a company spokesperson has since confirmed. “We assume that each crewed Soyuz MS spacecraft intended solely for commercial spaceflight will have two seats for space tourists” with a professional astronaut occupying the third seat, Glavkosmos spokesman Evgenii Kolomeets told SpaceNews. “In 2022-2023, with a favorable combination of circumstances, we can count on four seats aboard the commercial spacecraft for space tourists.”
The first dedicated Glavkosmos flight should be Soyuz MS-23 in the fall of 2022 to the ISS, with a second flight expected some time in 2023. “Commercial spacecraft and launch vehicles for the 2022-2023 launch campaigns are being manufactured, and specific mission numbers are assigned to spacecraft only after they are included in the flight program,” Kolomeets said.
If this happens, it will mean that at least three different entities — Axiom, Space Adventures, and Roscosmos — will be selling tourists flights into space. And that doesn’t even count possible flights on Boeing’s Starliner, once it becomes operational.
This competition is certain to force a drop in price, which in turn should increase the customer base, making more such flights possible.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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