An official from the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said the International Space Station will not be available for visits by space tourists after 2009, the Russian news agency Novosti reported. As the ISS crew grows from three to six, all the seats on the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft will be used by astronauts and cosmonauts from the various international partners of the ISS, not leaving any room for paying tourists. Director Anatoly Perminov said the last commercial flights would be made this year; in March 2009 former Microsoft software guru Charles Simonyi will make his second trip to the space station, and a Kazakh cosmonaut will fly to the ISS in the fall of 2009.
Since 2001 tourists, or “spaceflight participants” have visited the ISS on 10-day trips, riding to the station in the spare seat on the Soyuz. But the crew increase on ISS means that all the available Soyuz seats will be occupied.
However, the space tourism company Space Adventures, which has taken care of the details in getting the tourists to the ISS, and they said they are working to secure additional seats for 2010, and beyond.
The first private citizen to go to the ISS was US citizen Dennis Tito, in 2001. Since then there have been five other tourists including South African businessman Mark Shuttleworth, American Greg Olson, Iranian-American business woman Anousha Ansari, Charles Simonyi, Richard Garriott (son of former US astronaut, Owen Garriott) .
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