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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sold For $40M: 2 Seats on ISS Rocket Ride

NEW YORK -- Two U.S. citizens have won the go-ahead to become the next tourists in space, and two more spots for a Russian rocket trip to the International Space Station are now on the market, the U.S. firm selling the spots said on Tuesday.

Two thrill-seeking civilians, whose names are still being withheld, have agreed to shell out $20 million each for separate eight- to 10-day trips into orbit.

The space tourists will be following in the footsteps of U.S. millionaire Dennis Tito and South African technology entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, who both forked over about the same amount to be launched into space in 2001 and 2002.

Two more seats are up for sale, locking up all the spots on Soyuz rockets through 2007, according to Space Adventures, a private U.S. firm running the trips with Russia's space agency.

When the upcoming launches were announced in June, about a dozen people had undergone medical tests for the two available flights and paid certain fees. The successful candidates were picked largely because they pitched unique mission objectives, Space Adventures President and Chief Executive Eric Anderson said.

One of the two is a 38-year-old male Manhattan real estate developer. No details about the other were available.

One of the space tourists will launch in the third quarter of 2004, and the other sometime in 2005. Space Adventures expected their names to be revealed sometime in January.