Monday, October 5, 2009

ISRO seeks Russian spaceship for manned flight

As part of its ambitious manned space flights programme, India has sought a Russian spaceship for sending “space tourists” into orbit, an official said.

“Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has applied for acquiring a spaceship for sending space tourists,” Russian space agency, Roscosmos’ spokesman Alexei Krasnov said. He said the deal would be commercial and two space travellers could fly in the non-reusable ‘Soyuz TMA’ ship to be piloted by a Russian cosmonaut.

Krasnov, however, did not provide details about the deal or the value of the contract. “It depends on the route and duration of the flight, which are yet to be finalised,” he said.

According to Russian media Roscosmos charges about $35 million for a space tourist’s 10-day flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

During President Dmitry Medvedev’s maiden India visit last year, Moscow and New Delhi inked a space accord, under which Russia will help Isro in training Indian astronauts and provide knowhow for building an indigenous spaceship for the national programme of space flights. In April 1984, Rakesh Sharma had travelled into space aboard the Russian Soyuz T-11 spaceship.

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