Not only will you witness the next manned launch of the Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station on this behind-the-scenes trip of the Russian Space Program, but you’ll also be able to take part in cosmonaut training.
Fifty years ago, American civilians could only dream of getting a behind-the-scenes look at the Soviet space program as the Cold War and Space Race tensions built up between the two countries.
But this fall, you can join MIR Corporation—a Seattle-based adventure travel outfitter that has been giving tours of Russia and its neighboring countries since 1986—on its annual trip inside Russia’s space program. You can witness the next manned launch of the Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), tour the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, and even participate in optional cosmonaut training yourself.
The trip kicks off on October 5, 2018, when up to 16 guests will arrive in Moscow and head to the once-classified Star City (think Cape Canaveral, but shrouded in secrecy). While it is now open to the public, Russian cosmonauts and foreign astronauts still train there today at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
If you opt into the cosmonaut training, you’ll get to take a Zero-G flight, where you can experience floating in space without leaving the stratosphere, and also ride in the world’s largest centrifuge to learn what 4 Gs of force feel like during shuttle launches and reentries. Those who opt out of those potentially stomach-churning activities will still have the chance to see the ISS simulator and meet a Russian cosmonaut in person at the training center.
The group will then fly to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh steppe to see a manned launch of the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS—currently the only type of spacecraft that sends people to the ISS—from a special viewing area. Before the launch, you’ll have VIP seats at the Crew Press Conference and also get to take part in the crew send-off from the Cosmonaut Hotel.
Back in Moscow, you’ll have a chance to visit the Energia Space Museum and the Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery, a UNESCO World Heritage site where many cosmonauts are buried (plus, the final resting place of Anton Chekhov and Nikita Khrushchev if you’re also interested in writers and politicians).
The trip takes place October 5 to 14, 2018, and rates begin at $14,495 per person. For more information, visit mircorp.com.