Russian ship with tourist docks with space station: reports

Mar 28, 2009

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying second-time space tourist Charles Simonyi along with a US and a Russian astronaut docked Saturday at the International Space Station, media reports quoted the control centre near Moscow as saying.

Spokesman Valery Lyndin told Interfax news agency that checks would be made to ensure there were no leaks in the airlock between the capsule and the space station before the crews of the two vessels joined up.

He said the automatic docking procedure had not worked and the docking had been done manually, while adding that this was not exceptional.

He expected the Soyuz crew to enter the ISS around 1610 GMT, three hours after docking.

US software pioneer Simonyi, 60, is the first person to travel twice into space as a tourist, having paid 35 million dollars (28 million euros) for the voyage.

He previously travelled to the space station in April 2007, becoming one of a select group of wealthy civilians, most of them from the United States, to have pioneered .

The professional spacemen on the flight are Russian Gennady Padalka, who is to become the space station's commander, and American Michael Barratt, who takes over as flight engineer.

The launch comes as Moscow is doubling the number of manned space launches to meet the needs of the expanding space station, with a second launch due in May.

The head of Russian space agency Rosksomos, Anatoly Perminov, said that for a period it could be the last time a would be taken on board due to increased demand on the programme, but had high praise for Russian-US space cooperation.

Simonyi's trip to space was the seventh by a space tourist since the programme was launched by Roskosmos and US firm Space Adventures in 2001.

But plans to raise the number of crew for the ISS from three to six from May, meaning there will no longer be a spare seat for a tourist on future missions.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The end of the line for space tourism?

Mar 28, 2009

A US software mogul who made history this week as the first person to travel to space twice as a tourist could also be the last paying passenger to head into space for several years.

US space tourist blasts off to space station

Mar 26, 2009

(AP) -- A Russian capsule carrying U.S. billionaire space tourist Charles Simonyi sailed into orbit Thursday after blasting off in a roar of fire for the international space station.

Russian cargo spacecraft nearing ISS

Jun 17, 2005

MOSCOW, June 17 (UPI) -- A Russian cargo spacecraft has been launched into orbit successfully and will reach the International Space Station Saturday, Russian space officials said.

World's Third Space Tourist Ready For Journey

Sep 12, 2005

The world's third space tourist Gregory Olsen has been given the go ahead for his Oct 1 flight to the International Space Station aboard a Russian vehicle, a space official said.

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

13 minutes ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

53 minutes ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

1 hour ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

20 hours ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

23 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

A sharp eye on Southern binary stars

Unlike our sun, with its retinue of orbiting planets, many stars in the sky orbit around a second star. These binary stars, with orbital periods ranging from days to centuries, have long been the primary ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Astronaut salary

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?