Russian Space Firm Energia Plans to Take the First Tourist on a Space Walk in 2023
Russia's Energia space corporation announced on Thursday that it will take the first tourist on a space walk in 2023, under the terms of a new contract with a US partner.
Energia has inked a contract with Space Adventures, which promises to take two space tourists to the International Space Station that year.
"We plan that one of the participants of the expedition will do a spacewalk from the Russian segment, together with a professional Russian cosmonaut," said Energia, which is part of Russia's space agency Roscosmos.
The announcement comes days after Nasa signed a deal with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space tourism company to promote private missions to the station after a special training program in the US.
It also follows the first successful mission by Elon Musk's SpaceX last month to bring astronauts to the station on a reusable Crew Dragon spacecraft, ending nearly a decade of Russia holding a monopoly on shuttling humans to orbit.
SpaceX in March announced its own space tourism trip for three people next year, on board of the Crew Dragon.
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On its website, Space Adventures already advertises the spacewalk as a "rare and exhilarating experience," available only through the Russian programme.
"If you choose to fly to space on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, you have the opportunity to... conduct a spacewalk, accompanied by a professional cosmonaut," it says.
The company together with the Russian agency previously took eight tourists to the ISS between 2001 and 2009.
(Related: SpaceX Plans to Launch Tourists Into Space as Soon as 2021)