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ISRO seeks Russian spaceship for manned flight

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MOSCOW (PTI): As part of the nation's ambitious programme of manned space flights, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is seeking a Russian spaceship for sending "space tourists" in orbit, an official said.

"ISRO has applied for acquiring a spaceship for sending space tourists," Russian space agency "Roskosmos" spokesman Alexei Krasnov said.

He said the deal would be commercial and two space travellers could fly in the non-reusable 'soyuz TMA' ship to be piloted by a Russian cosmonaut.

Krasnov, however, did not say about the value of the contract.

"It depends on the route and duration of the flight, which are yet to be finalised," he said.

According to Russian media "Roskosmos" charges about USD 35 million for a space tourist's 10-day flight to International Space Station (ISS).

During President Dmitry Medvedev's maiden India visit last year Moscow and New Delhi inked a space accord, under which Russia will help ISRO in training Indian astronauts and provide know-how for building indigenous spaceship for the national programme of space flights.

In April 1984 India's first astronaut Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma had travelled in to space aboard the Russian Soyuz T-11 spaceship and worked for a week at the Soviet orbital station Salyut-7.

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