Russian, U.S. firms sign contract to send two space tourists to ISS in 2023



File Photo: A handout video-grabbed image made available by NASA on May 31, 2020 shows the SpaceX Crew Dragon approaching to dock to the International Space Station (ISS), on May 31, 2020. (NASA TV/Handout via Xinhua)

Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and U.S. space tourism company Space Adventures have signed a contract for a short-term expedition for two space tourists aboard the Russian Soyuz MS spacecraft to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023, Energia said in a statement on Thursday.

During the expedition, one of the tourists is scheduled to make a joint spacewalk with a professional Russian cosmonaut, the statement said.

Between 2001 and 2009, Energia and Russia's state space corporation Russian Roscosmos, under contracts with Space Adventures, successfully conducted eight short-term commercial flights, sending five U.S. tourists into space -- one of them twice -- as well as one British and one Canadian traveler to the Russian segment of the ISS, it said.