Russia will increase the number of Soyuz spaceship launches and resume space tourism in 2012, an aerospace industry source told Interfax news agency on Thursday and reported on Russia Today.
“There will be five Russian spacecraft, instead of four, starting from 2012. Four spacecraft will perform the International Space Station program, and one will be offered to space tourists,” an unnamed source said and reported in RIA Novosti. “If no problems occur, the construction of the fifth spaceship will begin in the middle of this year.”
Less than a fortnight ago, Sergei Krikalyov, the head of the Russian Cosmonauts' Training Center, was saying "as for (space) tourists ... there are now going to be six crew members, and it will be impossible to ferry a tourist each time there is a new crew shift in orbit, and for some time there will be a break in these journeys. The talk will definitely be about years, but it's hard to say now, whether it's going to be one year, two years or five years,” Krikalyov said.
Virginia-based Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson, about one year ago, said that spaceflight participants may be on a dedicated Russian Soyuz by 2012. The market prices for human spacecraft seats are developing since the first private Soyuz passenger flight in 2000. Markets were a part of US Senate testimony referenced by one witness recently.