India plans space tourism offering

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is looking to buy a Russian spacecraft for sending space tourists into orbit.

ISRO wants to buy non-reusable Soyuz TMA spacecraft and sell two of its three seats to fare-paying passengers. The value of the potential deal was not revealed.

“ISRO has applied for acquiring a spaceship for space tourists,” said Russian space agency Roskosmos spokesman Alexei Krasnov, who added that the deal would be purely commercial and that the Soyuz would probably be piloted by a Russian cosmonaut.

Roskosmos currently charges about $35 million for a ten day tourist flight to the International Space Station. Moscow and New Delhi signed a space agreement last year, under which Russia will help ISRO in training Indian astronauts and provide technical backup enabling India to build its own manned spacecraft.

ISRO already has launch vehicles under development which could carry the Soyuz craft into orbit.