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Space Adventures Claims Two Soyuz Tickets Sold

sir, your taxi is waiting
 Washington - Dec 17, 2003
The Reuters news agency reported late Tuesday night that the space tourist company Space Adventures has selected two unnamed tourists for Soyuz flights in 2004 and 2005 to the International Space Station.

Both tourists were reported to be Americans including a 38-year-old male Manhattan real estate developer. But no other details were available.

The Soyuz taxi flights to the International Space Station have reportedly cost up to $20 million per person for a 10-day flight.

Previously tourists have flown twice to the $100 billion orbiting "science" facility. First up was former NASA engineer Dennis Tito who left the space agency decades ago to start a highly successful investment company and was eventually able to pay his own way into space.

The last flight was in 2002 when South African IT entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth was able to secure a more friendly welcome from NASA which had belatedly realized the value in having paying customers on board the Station.

According to the Reuters report, Space Adventures has two additional seats available on flights in 2006 and 2007.

The names of the two new space tourists will be announced in January.

With the US Space Shuttle fleet grounded for another year, Russia's Soyuz spacecraft and associated expendable launcher is currently the only working transport system keeping the Station crewed and supplied.

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The embattled Shuttle/ISS complex is hearing some faint support recently from an unexpected direction: certain space tourism advocates. This is not good. For one thing, nobody really knows if the first two visitors fully paid their way. Accounting in space programs is a black art -- even now, nobody knows for sure how much the Apollo missions really cost writes Michael Turner.

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