Virginia-based space tourism company Space Adventures typically pays the Russian government $20 million to $40 million to hold a seat on its Soyuz flights for its wealthy customers. But now, Space Adventures plans to fund an entire flight all for itself. Two tourists and a Russian commander will depart Earth on 2011 for a trip to the International Space Station. One of the tourists? Google cofounder Sergey Brin, who's invested $5 million in Space Adventures as a deposit on his ticket to the final frontier. Of the news, Brin said:
I am a big believer in the exploration and commercial development of the space frontier, and am looking forward to the possibility of going into space.
Actual Russian space program officials don't share the billionaire's enthusiasm. According to the New York Times, Vitaly Lopota, president of the company that makes Russia's spacecraft, said in April that he does favor space tourism and that Russia only allows it to make up for financial shortfalls. Anatoly Perminov, the head of Russia's space agency, said all space tourism could end in 2010. Sorry, Sergey! (Photo by Gaetan Lee)