MOSCOW (Sputnik) - In April 2019, a professional cosmonaut from the United Arab Emirates may fly to the International Space Station (ISS) on board Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, instead of a US businessman who intended to become the next space tourist, a source from the space industry told Sputnik on Thursday.
"A US businessman expressed his will to become the next space tourist. But, probably, he will not be able to fly to the ISS in spring 2019. The seat is planned to be occupied by the first cosmonaut of the United Arab Emirates, with which Roscosmos has signed an agreement on cooperation in the selection and training of the national space crew," the source said, stressing that the US businessman will be able to reach the ISS during one of the further Soyuz spaceflights.
Russia’s Roscosmos state space corporation has refused to expand the Russian crew from two to three people due to the postponement of ISS Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module’s launch from 2018 to 2019. Therefore, a seat of the third crew member for the Soyuz 2019 spring flight to the ISS remains vacant.
Since 2001, seven space tourists have made eight spaceflights. The cost of the flight ranges from $45 million to $50 million.
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