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Interesting…

Undelivered Space Station Parts Pile Up
In this article, discussing how the backlog of ISS components at KSC (the final U.S. core element, Node 2, arrived this week), we find this interesting bit of info:

Pending approval from NASA and the International Space Station partnership, Space Adventures wants to send two tourists to the outpost at $20 million each in 2005, using a Soyuz capsule and a professional Russian cosmonaut to pilot the ship. The flight would be in addition to biannual Soyuz taxi flights to the station needed to replace the outpost’s lifeboat.

(emphasis added)
This suggests that Space Adventures is no longer just selling the empty seats on scheduled taxi flights, but scheduling a dedicated launch of their own. This article from Newsday confirms it:

The upcoming flight differs from Tito’s and Shuttleworth’s because the spacecraft is being sent into orbit specifically for tourists, while the businessmen traveled with astronauts already on missions, Anderson said.

Very interesting. I’m surprised that I actually had to look around a bit to find out for sure — one would expect the purely commercial nature of the launch would receive more attention than it has.

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