more likely to happen than not based on an answer to a question I posed to Russia’s Federal Space Agency (aka Roscosmos)
On 11 June 2008 Space Adventures announced an ‘agreement‘ to have an entirely private flight to the International Space Station in 2011 – see Hyperbola’s reaction here
But the following day Roscosmos put a statement on its website appearing to undermine that 2011 claim – see the translated statement here
At the Farnborough international air show I could not get a straight answer to a question about this private flight deal between Space Adventures was Roscosmos
Why were the company’s Russian partners not so forthcoming when it would be easier to be so?
In a recent interview with a Russian newspaper, that was reported on by Russian newswire RIA Novosti, the head of Roscosmos Anatoly Perminov said that there would be no more tourist visits to the ISS after 2009
This apparent categorical statement of an end to ISS space tourism, full stop, only added to the sense that senior Roscosmos officials felt uncomfortable confirming the alleged agreement with Space Adventures
But after engaging with Roscosmos press office last week I received an answer yesterday and here it is
Russian Federal Space Agency used the seats in Soyuz for Space Flight Participants, so they could go up and spend about 10 days in the Station. Now the situation is changing, due to obvious reasons, but Roscosmos is going to use other opportunities to remain in the market of space tourism. For example, one way is to build a Soyuz for two tourists and one professional commander.
One way is to build a Soyuz… So it is clear that Roscosmos sees itself as a partner in a potential private flight. But the answer does not say that it goes to the ISS and it does not say when
My understanding is that the longest long lead items for Soyuz spacecraft require an order two-years before a launch is required. My next line of enquiry will be about this, has S P Korolev Energia Rocket and Space Corporation recieved an order or is in talks to finalise an order that would enable a 2011 launch? For that matter has Samara Space Center received one for its Soyuz rocket?
So Space Adventures can breathe a little easier that we now have a statement from Roscosmos confirming its readiness to be involved in such a flight but there are still outstanding questions. Expect more from Hyperbola on this in the future