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: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

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

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.