The Russian space company Energia will send tourists to the International Space Station beginning next year
Virgin Galactic aims to send tourists into space by next year. Elon Musk’s SpaceX which recently launched the world’s most powerful rocket into space hopes to do the same not long after. However, none of them involves the tourists popping out for a spacewalk. Enter Russian space company Energia.
Energia has said that starting from next year, it will offer flights for up to six people onboard its NEM-2 module. The NEM-2 model is currently under production and will be used to send between four-six people to the International Space Station (ISS) from where they will be able to go on spacewalks. The NEM-2 will have toilets, cabins and internet access too – helpful if you want to live-stream your experience. Each tourist will be charged $100 million for the experience and it will last for around 10 days.Energia has decades of experience under its belt. It was responsible for putting the first person, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961. In 2009, Russia sent Canadian billionaire and founder of the Cirque du Soleil for a two-week outing to the International Space Station.
In December, Russian national space company Roscosmos said that it was exploring the possibility of setting up a five-star hotel on board the ISS. The “luxury orbital suites” will have WIFi, four private cabins, 16-inch windows that allow tourists to peer down at earth and even exercise equipment to keep those muscles active while in space.
While the five-star space hotel is expected to be ready by 2022, the spacewalks for tourists is expected to commence from next year itself. Reportedly, American firm Boeing has also expressed interest in partnering on the tourist spacewalk project. If you’ve got $100 million and want an experience that only a handful of the world’s richest men and women will ever experience, Energia could be the answer. Just make sure you haven’t seen the Julia Roberts and George Clooney film Gravity before you board the space shuttle.