The outspoken head of Russia’s space industry has promised that, by 2020, Russia will deliver astronauts and tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) in less time than it takes to fly from Moscow to Brussels.
Russia’s Progress cargo craft set a record of 3 hours and 40 minutes this summer to reach the ISS. Manned flights to the space station usually take six hours and four orbits around Earth. Late last month, Russian space officials announced plans to establish a moon colony by 2040.
“In a year and a half, we will deliver cosmonauts to the ISS, as well as space tourists, faster than a flight from Moscow to Brussels,” Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, tweeted on Sunday.
Passenger flights from the Russian capital to the capital of Belgium average 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Rogozin also announced that the next Progress cargo spacecraft will be delivered to the ISS in a record-setting three hours next March.
The current expendable craft will stay docked to the ISS until January 2019, when it will be stuffed with trash and sent to burn up in the atmosphere.