Now in Earth orbit, Japanese spaceflight participants Yozo Hirano (left) and Yusaku Maezawa (right) with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin (center).
Credit: Roscosmos

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin has instructed Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (part of Roscosmos) to develop and present a plan to increase the Soyuz MS series crewed spacecraft production in order to ensure space tourism development.

“After American crewed spacecraft started flying, Russia was relieved of its obligation to deliver foreign astronauts to the ISS,” Rogozin noted in a Roscosmos posting. “We got the opportunity to send crews of three Russian cosmonauts to the station. The first such crew of professional cosmonauts will fly to the ISS in the spring. Recently, we resumed sending tourists into space. Currently, two Japanese citizens are staying in orbit. This service brings us hard cash to finance rocket and space industry modernization.”

Soyuz spacecraft for lofting space tourists.
Credit: NASA TV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Concrete action plan

Rogozin said RSC Energia is to submit a concrete action plan to Roscosmos a concrete action plan to increase production capacity in order to build up to four crewed spacecraft per year, he said at a meeting of the industry’s operational briefing on Thursday.

Over the past few years, RSC Energia has built four Soyuz MS spacecraft per year: two under the Federal Space Program and two under international contracts to deliver foreign astronauts to the ISS.

Actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov, and movie director Klim Shipenko prior to film-making mission onboard the International Space Station.
Credit: Roscosmos/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Space tourism pioneer

The Roscosmos posting noted that “Russia is a space tourism pioneer,” and that between 2001 and 2021, nine commercial spaceflight participants went into orbit on Soyuz spacecraft, one of them twice.

Launched December 8 to the ISS, the Soyuz MS-20 crew consists of Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, as well as spaceflight participants Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano. The flight is performed under contract with the U.S. firm, Space Adventures.

The crew are expected to spend 12 days on the ISS and will return to Earth on December 20.

Last October, Russia flew actress Yulia Peresild, and movie director Klim Shipenko, along with Roscosmos commander Anton Shkaplerov to the orbital outpost.

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