Space tourism to involve spacewalks as Roscosmos plans trip…as NASA astronauts do their own spacewalk in June

by | Jun 26, 2020 | Commercial human spaceflight, International Space Station, Russia, Soyuz, Space tourism

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency/industrial complex, has announced that it plans to allow two tourists to ride aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023. The two would-be astronauts will be accompanied by a professional cosmonaut who will command the Soyuz capsule. While such paid-for trips have declined recently, they were semi-regular occurrences during the period 2001-09 when Space Adventures brokered the deals – that was until NASA started to book all the seats after the Space Shuttle retired.

This new trip will have an exciting innovation. One of the tourists is training to do a spacewalk outside the space station accompanied by a professional cosmonaut. No details have been released about the price of this excursion.

Cosmonaut view during the August 2018 spacewalk. Courtesy: Roscosmos

While that is for the future, two NASA astronauts, Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken, made spacewalk on 26 June to replace batteries supporting the 1B solar array channel on the S6 truss segment of the ISS. The airlock hatch was opened at 1131 GMT. At 1138 GMT, just after Cassidy emerged from the airlock, accidentally released his left wrist mirror into orbit. The hatch was closed at the end of the spacewalk 1736 GMT and the airlock repressurisation began at 1739 GMT.

Operations earlier in June on the ISS included the release from the JEM/Kibo module via the Nanoracks Kaber deployer on a slide table, of two small REDEYE spacecraft for DARPA. The REDEYE-2 (dubbed Merlot) was released at 1750 GMT on 17 June, while REDEYE-3 was released on 23 June at 2110 GMT.

Jonathan McDowell contributed the timings and battery equipment moves to this story

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