A vacated space aboard the Soyuz space capsule may allow another space tourist to travel to the International Space Station in September, the Russian Federal Space Agency says. Space Adventures is selecting candidates for the flight.
It was earlier reported that Charles Simonyi’s flight to the ISS in April may be the last commercial space travel for a long time but, since Kazakhstan pulled its cosmonaut out of the next expedition, there may be a free seat aboard Soyuz TMA 16, heading for the ISS in September.
“The new expedition member may be a professional Russian cosmonaut or a space tourist,” Vitaly Davydov, deputy head of the Roscosmos space corporation was quoted by Rosbalt news agency as saying Friday. “We are pressed for time, and by early May we have to make the decision.”
Davydov says Roscosmos has contacted Space Adventures, and the company is urgently looking for candidates for the flight.
However, he said, it was unlikely that Space Adventures would again propose Japanese businessman Daisuke Enomoto for the flight. Enomoto was found unfit to fly to ISS in 2006 for medical reasons, although doctors said his health may allow him to fly next time.
Davydov added that Roskosmos may propose Russian MP Gruzdev for the trip, “if he is ready.”
So far, Space Adventures and the Russian space agencies have sent to the ISS six private space explorers: Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Gregory Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Richard Garriot and Charles Simonyi.