Do you want to become a space tourist like Mark Shuttleworth?

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Do you want to follow in South African Mark Shuttleworth‘s footsteps by taking a scenic trip into space? Well, you might just be in luck.

To make up for the short fall in cash flow generated from NASA missions, the Russian Federal Space Agency announced that it will resume its space tourist flights to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018.

“We plan compensating for the fall of demand for manned spaceships of the Soyuz family after 2018 by resuming short-term commercial expeditions to the Russian segment of the ISS,” the Izvestia newspaper said, according to a quarterly report by Energiya space corporation.

Shuttleworth became the first African to travel to space in 2002 by launching aboard the Russian Soyuz TM-34 mission as a space flight participant. But it wasn’t cheap and prospective tourists will have fork over a pretty penny: at the time Shuttleworth paid $20 million for the opportunity.

Before participating in test and experiments on board the ISS, he had to undergo one year of training and preparation, including seven months spent in Russia’s Star City.

By current estimations, a trip in 2018 will cost around $76 million (R894m), which will include the lengthy training regime.

At present, NASA makes use of the last three seats on board Soyuz towards the ISS, as NASA stopped its piloted spacecraft missions in 2011, but that is set to change in 2017 if NASA starts to make use of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company to deliver astronauts to the ISS.

“Roscosmos and NASA may sign an agreement on delivery of astronauts in 2018. It may be the last agreement in the series, as NASA contractors promise to complete construction and testing of new manned spaceships, the Dragon manufactured by SpaceX and the CST-100 manufactured by Boeing, in 2018,” the newspaper said.

[Image – NASA]

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