Roscosmos Not Keen on Space Adventures’ Moon Flight

Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)
Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Roscosmos is not amused by a plan by RSC Energia and Space Adventures to spent two tourists on a trip around the moon in a modified Soyuz spacecraft:

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, will not be involved in a plan to send two space tourists on a flight around the Moon and was not consulted about the project, the federal space agency said.

The mission, hatched by U.S.-based space tourism firm Space Adventures and a major Russian spacecraft manufacturer, Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, would see two space tourists travel to the Moon aboard a modified Russian Soyuz spacecraft by 2017. However, Roscosmos was kept out of the loop on the plan.

The organizers “could have consulted with us before making such loud announcements,” said Denis Lyskov, Roscosmos’s deputy chief in charge of piloted flights, Izvestia reported Monday.

“We are not participating in the moon project, we are not planning to modernize the Soyuz,” Lyskov was quoted as saying.

Despite the government owning a 38-percent stake in Energia, the company has a history of asserting its independence from the space agency, which purchases its hardware from the company for use in the government’s space agenda.

The fate of the flight could hinge on how long Energia remains an independent company. Igor Komarov, who heads up the newly created United Rocket and Space Company (URSC), has said the government plans to obtain a 51 percent share in Energia. The state-owned USRC is consolidating much of the Russian space industry under its control.

It’s not clear when the Russian government will obtain a majority share of Energia. It’s also uncertain whether Energia would continue to honor any commitments it made to Space Adventures prior to such a move.