The head of Russian space agency Roscosmos says that the country remains committed to space tourism, and that international cooperation in space is continuing despite international tensions over the Ukraine crisis.
Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko pointed out that British pop-star Sarah Brightman will arrive in Russia in January to begin training for her Oct. 4, 2015, flight to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Brightman is scheduled to spend 10 days aboard the ISS and return to earth with a departing ISS crew in mid-October.
The British singer is the latest in a line of affluent Westerners to contract rides aboard Soyuz crafts via U.S.-based company Space Adventures. The space tourism company has organized trips aboard Soyuz craft since 2001, when American businessman Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist.
Tito paid $20 million for his flight, but the price has since risen to more than $50 million. The last space tourist was Guy Laliberte, owner of Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil.
NASA, by comparison, pays about $71-74 million per seat to fly its astronauts to the ISS. The space station, which has cost $160 billion according to some calculations, involves 15 nations but is largely co-managed by the U.S. and Russia.