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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Space Tourism Prices are on the Rise

ReutersCandidates for space travel will have to pay more before they begin training for splashdowns and other flight events.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The price of space tourism is rising.

The cost of flying to the international space station aboard a Soyuz spaceship is up from about $25 million earlier this year to about $30 million to $40 million for trips planned in 2008 and 2009.

"It's mostly because of the fallen dollar," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, the sole company to broker trips with the Federal Space Agency.

A dollar currently is worth about 26 rubles, compared with 32 rubles in 2002.

Five space tourists -- American Dennis Tito; Mark Shuttleworth, of South Africa; American Gregory Olsen, Iranian-born U.S. citizen Anousheh Ansari, and Hungarian-born U.S. citizen Charles Simonyi -- have visited the space station via the Soyuz vehicles through trips brokered by Space Adventures.

The company announced Wednesday that two more Soyuz seats have been purchased for tourists to fly in 2008 and 2009.

Simonyi paid $25 million for his 13-day trip in April, while the others paid about $20 million.

Anderson said the space tourists flying in the two new seats likely would be an American and an Asian, but he offered no further details. Prospective space tourists must put down a 20 percent deposit, pass physical examinations and later undergo training at Russia's space facility.

About a dozen prospective space station tourists are in the process of reserving spots to go on the space station, even as the number of available seats on the three-person Soyuz vehicles is likely to diminish after the space shuttles are grounded in 2010.

NASA is going to rely on the Soyuz vehicles to deliver astronauts to the space station between the end of the shuttle program in 2010 and the expected first manned flight in 2015 of the next-generation spacecraft, Orion, which NASA hopes will take astronauts back to the moon by 2020. Additionally, the three-member space station crew, consisting of U.S. astronauts and cosmonauts, is expected to double in size in 2009.

"We're certainly working out ways to get more seats," Anderson said. "With the competition at that point, it becomes more difficult."