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Space Adventures to offer three seats on Russian rocket beginning in 2013

If you’re a well-heeled traveler searching for an exotic locale to spend a 10-day vacation, look no more.

Tito Vienna, Va.-based private spaceflight marketing firm Space Adventures announced Wednesday that it had struck a deal with the Russian space agency to offer three passenger seats to the International Space Station beginning in 2013.

The trip aboard a Soyuz spacecraft is made available through Russia’s increase in production of spacecraft to a rate of five per year from four.

"We are extremely excited to announce this agreement and would like to thank our Russian partners in increasing Soyuz production and providing Space Adventures these well sought-after transportation services on the only commercially available manned spacecraft currently in operation," said Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures, in a statement.

Space Adventures has organized eight trips to the space station for space enthusiasts on Soyuz rockets. 

Its first client was Dennis A. Tito, a California multimillionaire who founded Wilshire Associates Inc., an investment firm in Santa Monica. In 2001, Tito was the world's first space tourist, shelling out $20 million for the ride.

More recently, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte paid more than $35 million in 2009 to spend nine days on the space station.

So, tickets are not cheap.

But when Laliberte was asked about the hefty airfare as he floated in space, he smiled and told reporters it was "worth every penny."

-- W.J. Hennigan

Photo: Dennis A. Tito in training before he traveled to the International Space Station in 2001. Credit: Space Adventures Ltd.

 
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