Travel company sells a walk in space

Tech Culture

Competition is already heating up in the nascent space-tourism industry.

Space Adventures is one of the commercial agencies that sends private citizens to the International Space Station for $20 million. Since 2001, it has sent three tourists on separate 10-day orbital missions on a Russian Soyuz rocket.

The Virginia-based company said Friday that space tourists can now walk in space, too--for an extra $15 million. Travelers on upcoming trips can walk in space for up to one-and-a-half hours at the ISS, it said.

The announcement comes on the heels of news that rival Virgin Galactic has booked several high-profile passengers for its first tourist space flight, which is planned for 2008. Among the first 150 passengers will be "Batman Returns" film director Bryan Singer, designer Philippe Starck and an unidentified member of the British royal family.

The space travelers pay $200,000 per ticket on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, which will take them into suborbital space for 15 minutes, including five minutes of weightlessness. Ticket sales have reportedly hit $15 million.

The space walk from Space Adventures, which it calls extra-vehicular activity (EVA), is a trip option that adds another six to eight days on the typical 10-day trip. The company said candidates must train an extra month, on top of a rigorous 6-month training period, to prepare for the walk.

"Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov made history in 1965 when he took the first steps in space and since then, less than 200 others have experienced the thrill of walking in space. With the cooperation of the Federal Space Agency of Russia, Space Adventures is proud to offer the EVA option to our orbital spaceflight clients," Eric Anderson, CEO of Space Adventures, said in a statement.

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