Jun 30, 2021
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“We are glad to all comers”

Russian Glavkosmos conducts pre-flight training of space tourists for travel to the ISS. This was announced in an interview with RT by the CEO of the company Dmitry Loskutov. According to him, having a large sum to buy a ticket for a spaceship is not enough. All candidates undergo a rigorous examination, including psychological and medical examinations, as well as physical fitness.

– On what conditions does Glavkosmos provide vouchers for space tourists? What are the limitations?

– There are certain restrictions directly related to the ship. These are anthropomorphic restrictions: the weight should be no more than 95 kg, the height – no more than 190 cm. And so, in principle, all the restrictions are clear when a person undergoes a medical examination. Naturally, he must be in good health and physically trained. This is psychological stability, the ability to make decisions in difficult situations, possibly associated with a threat to health and life. As such, the restrictions are known, they are posted on the website of the Cosmonaut Training Center. We are glad to everyone who is ready to fly into space.

– How long is the preparation course?

– As a rule, at least six months. But now, as an experiment, we are preparing a group for the flight, which must undergo training in just four months. These conditions are comparable to those offered by our American partners – about 15 weeks. Our professional astronauts and astronautics experts believe that four months is the minimum.

– How is the work with the current group organized at the moment?

– A balanced work is underway: psychological, medical examination, physical training. Of course, the main emphasis is on the study of the ship’s systems and the scheme of action in an emergency situation. Fortunately, such cases were few, you can count on the fingers on one hand.

ISS / Reuters / © NASA / Roscosmos / Handout

– You just mentioned a psychological test. Are they claustrophobic tests, panic attacks, or something?

– Of course, people have different specifics. Candidates who are either claustrophobic or panic attacks are screened out at the earliest stage of medical examinations. It’s not just claustrophobic tests. Of course, candidates have repeatedly tried on seats in the Soyuz manned transport spacecraft. And then it becomes clear whether a person can spend a few hours there or not.

Of course, there are special medical and psychological tests that show how adequate a person is, how resistant to stress, prepared psychologically, physically and mentally for such a difficult flight.

What will be the cost of the flight for a space tourist?

– The price tag is already known, depending on the task, it ranges from $ 55 million to $ 90 million. I’m talking now not about our ships, but about American SpaceX.

The time spent at the station is paid separately. The astronauts’ working hours are also expensive. Astronauts must accompany the tourist, pay attention to him. This separates them from the tasks that they must perform in accordance with the program of work on the ISS.

For example, in a Boeing spacecraft, which has not yet flown in a manned version, a chair, according to various estimates, can cost about $ 80 million. On our ships the price is lower, it will be competitive. Two Japanese tourists are due to fly later this year. The price is less than $ 55 million.

You have already said that on the ISS, as in a hotel, there is the cost per day…

– This NASA announced the cost per night stay on the ISS in the US segment. We can say that they have equated the ISS with the hotel.

AND is there a demand? Where do candidates come from?

– I can’t say the exact amount now. We are negotiating with representatives of several interested candidates from different parts of the world. From the northern region, let’s just say.

Ncannot be compared ISS with a resort. This is probably a very wrong comparison...

Not yet. I don’t think, frankly, that we will live to see the moment when a large part of the population, or even a small part of the population, can easily afford to fly to the ISS. Since the station itself will operate, maybe until 2030. We know that other stations will be created as well. There are private companies that are already building orbital modules. There are circumlunar tasks. There, too, most likely, there will be some kind of station. Maybe there will be a new international station. So the PRC has now sent its taikonauts to the Chinese station for the first time.

So the task of mastering low-earth orbit is certainly very interesting. And I am convinced that it has a future in terms of space tourism.

You saidthat the astronauts will also have reserved time on the ISS so that they accompany tourists..

– There are, of course, the tasks of serving tourists. And they are included in the price of the chair when we sell it. In the American case, apparently, this is some kind of hourly pay … What does “cosmonaut” mean? This is a scientist, engineer, researcher. Probably, in 15-20 years we will come to the moment when a flight to a space station will be akin to a flight by an airplane. There will be a technical crew serving the station, a spacecraft, and there will be people who have their own tasks. After all, a tourist does not have to fly photographs to shoot through the windows. As a rule, these are teachers, scientists, popularizers. And they are certainly interested in being useful while at the station.

Space tourist Richard Garriot / Reuters / © Sergei Remezov

Luggage on the ISS paid separately?

– As a rule, the most necessary things that a tourist needs, he takes with him immediately. This is a small volume: food, water, some supplies, souvenirs that relatives and friends bring with them.

But if, for example, a more serious task is required – conducting scientific experiments that require the delivery of equipment – then the equipment will no longer fit into a manned spacecraft. For this, the Progress transport ship is launched, and this cargo is paid for separately.

How much this is about in kilograms?

– I think fifteen kilograms.

– How did the activity of SpaceX and other companies in the West influence the decision of Roskosmos and Glavkosmos to start commercial flights?

– Of course, it influenced in many ways. We are seeing a surge in professional and public interest in the topic. There was only one delivery vehicle — our Soyuz spacecraft. With the advent of an alternative means, flight capabilities began to be released. We have become more active in finding commercial travelers.

The Americans do it in exactly the same way. The more delivery vehicles to space, the more competition, the more interesting it becomes to work. We proceed from the premise that our enterprises, cooperation will be interested in reducing costs, in reducing overhead costs. To be more competitive in this market. Because, as I have already said, space tourism certainly has a future.

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