Friday, January 5, 2018

The Dawn of Space Tourism

Soyuz TM-32 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 28, 2001 and docked to the Zarya module's nadir port two days later on April 30.  

The launch marked the debut of the first space tourist, Dennis Tito, who reportedly paid more than $20 million for the 8 day trip to/from the ISS.  To date, a total of 7 space tourists have visited the ISS.

TM-32 was the first "taxi" flight to the ISS.  Soyuz taxi flights are responsible for exchanging the Soyuz spacecraft that is used as the ISS crew escape vehicle.  Soyuz vehicles are rated for a 6 month lifespan and must be de-orbited within this period for crew safety purposes.  The flight also represents the first simultaneous docking of two Soyuz vehicles to the station.  TM-31 and TM-32 were simultaneously docked from April 30 - May 6, when TM-31 departed from the Zvezda aft port to transport the taxi crew back to earth.

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