Headlines > News > US space travel firm opens branch in Japan

US space travel firm opens branch in Japan

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri May 13, 2005 3:40 pm
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Tokyo, May 12: Space Adventures Ltd., a US travel broker offering commercial space tours, has opened a branch in Tokyo in response to growing interest in private space exploration in Japan and other Asian countries.

”Space tourism is no longer a dream and has become reality,” said Tatsuhiro Yokoyama yesterday, general manager of the Tokyo office. ”We would like to explore the market as this is the beginning of the era of space voyages.”

Space adventures, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, said a Japanese client is undergoing preparatory procedures for an orbital spaceflight scheduled next year and that it has received ”thousands of requests” from people in Asia-Pacific countries.

On the orbital spaceflight aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft, private space explorers spend about a week orbiting Earth aboard the international space station. The tour, including six to eight months of training, costs $20 million, or about 2.1 billion yen.

US businessman Dennis Tito and African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth were the first two private citizens in space through space adventures in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

The company also offers a sub-orbital programme, which is currently in development, for $102,000, or about 11 million yen. It consists of a four-day training period and a 90-minute spaceflight on a rocket where passengers will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, space adventures said.

Other programmes also include zero-gravity and MiG flights, cosmonaut training and spaceflight qualification programmes, the company said.


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