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four new civilians will soon join the ISS

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The private company Space Adventures is currently organizing its two new civilian missions aboard the ISS since 2009. The first will involve a Russian actress and director, the second a Japanese billionaire and his production assistant.

Space Adventures is a american society specializing in space tourism. Between 2001 and 2009, it distinguished itself by sending seven civilians to the ISS by renting seats in Russian Soyuz capsules. These flights were then ended following the shutdown of the American space shuttle program, forcing NASA astronauts to integrate Russian vessels to reach the station. In other words, there were then no more places available for hire for the private company.

Since then, things have changed a lot. NASA has in fact once again emancipated itself by transporting its astronauts aboard American capsules. For now, only SpaceX has stood out, but the Boeing company will also soon offer the same services with its Starliner spacecraft.

So there is now again seats available in Russian capsules. And naturally, Space Adventures took advantage of it.

The Soyuz MS-12 mission takes off from Kazakhstan on March 15, 2019. Credits: NASA

Two new scheduled missions

On May 13, the company announced the development of two new civilian missions. The first, the Soyuz MS-19 mission, will take off on October 5th with Russian actress Yulia Peresild on board. She will be accompanied by director Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov during the Soyuz MS-19 mission to the ISS. They will stay put a dozen days, the time to shoot a few scenes for a film called “Vyzov” (“The Challenge”), co-produced by the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Peresild and Shipenko will then return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-18 capsule, currently docked at the station, along with cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky.

Note that actress Yulia Peresild was not the only contender likely to integrate this mission. Another actress, Alena Mordovina, will eventually train as a substitute, while pilot Galina Kairova has been invited by the Roscosmos agency to train to become a professional cosmonaut.

Finally, on the same day, Space Adventures officials also announced the development of a second mission, this time involving billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. If this name means something to you, it’s okay. This fashion professional and contemporary art collector will fly to the moon aboard SpaceX’s Starship in 2023. In fact, Maezawa had also invited the public to apply for a place on the ship.

As part of this mission (Soyuz MS-20), the billionaire will be accompanied by a production assistant, Yozo Hirano, and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin. There again, they will remain on board the ISS for a dozen days.


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