Space Adventures, the Virginia-based space tourism company, revealed today their role in once again making a trip into space possible following the signing of South African Mark Shuttleworth's contract for his April 2002 flight to ISS.
Shuttleworth, Space Adventures' client, signed the contract with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (RASA) yesterday in order to secure a seat on the next Soyuz taxi flight.
Space Adventures has been acting as Shuttleworth's representative in negotiating his space flight contract with RASA, and has worked with the various Russian space organizations to provide comprehensive training, logistical and legal support for all aspects of his upcoming flight.
"Space Adventures has been instrumental in realizing my dream of going to space. I hope and anticipate my journey will inspire South African youth and increase their interest in science and technology," said Shuttleworth, 28, a native of Cape Town, South Africa. While in orbit, Shuttleworth aims to carry out a series of scientific experiments relevant to South Africa, including biomedical research on HIV/AIDS.
Shuttleworth follows in the footsteps of Space Adventures' first orbital space flight client -- and the world's first private space explorer -- Dennis Tito, who flew to the ISS in April 2001. Space Adventures has worked since August 1999, with RASA, RSC Energia, and the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center to develop tourist flights to the ISS.
"Space Adventures has acted as the intermediary agent between Mr. Shuttleworth and RASA in organizing his space flight," said Sergey Gorbunov, Press Secretary of RASA. "Space Adventures is also actively working with RASA towards providing future flights to the ISS for private explorers."
Previous to initiating space flight contract negotiations, Shuttleworth first had to successfully complete Space Adventures' Orbital Pre-Qualification Program in Star City, Russia. As part of the program, Shuttleworth participated in MiG-25 and MiG-29 high-altitude supersonic jet flights, zero-gravity testing, extensive medical exams, and Soyuz simulator training.
"The cosmonaut training available through Space Adventures at Star City has been an extraordinary experience," said Shuttleworth, who passed the full cosmonaut board medical certification for space flight this summer, and will continue to undergo mission-specific training.
"Space Adventures is the only company worldwide that provides comprehensive space experiences, including space station flights, to private individuals," said Eric Anderson, President and CEO of Space Adventures. "We are very excited about Mr. Shuttleworth's progress and our efforts to advance private space exploration by facilitating our second flight contract for a private explorer." More orbital flights are available through Space Adventures.
In support of Shuttleworth's flight, Space Adventures is organizing a VIP tour for media and space enthusiasts to Baikonur, Kazakhstan to witness the Soyuz launch, another milestone in space tourism, in April 2002.
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South African Set To Become Second Space Tourist: Russian Official
Moscow - Dec 3, 2001
South African millionaire Mark Shuttleworth looks set to top off a spectacular decade by visiting the International Space Station via a Soyuz Taxi flight that he is expected to sign a contract for this week, the Russian Space Agency said Monday.
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