Chances are, you wanted to go to Space Camp as a kid. And ever since your parents said no, your secret desire to be an astronaut has only intensified with every passing year. Well dream no more, the chance to play out your spaceman fantasies has arrived. But it arrived in Russia. And oh yeah, it costs $14,000 (to start).
If traveling to the other side of the world and the price tag don’t pose a problem for you, you’ll be in for a 9-day, in-depth tour of the Russian space program, including cosmonaut training and VIP access to a rocket launch.
Your odyssey will begin in Moscow with a trip to nearby (and previously classified) Star City and the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCT), the premier training ground for Russian and international space explorers. Here you’ll experience the International Space Station simulator, get familiar with space vehicles and space suits and have the opportunity to experience what 4 Gs feels like by taking a ride in the world’s largest centrifuge.
Now that you’ve felt the pressure of 4 Gs on your body, the next day will offer up the opportunity to experience zero with a ride on a zero-G flight. You’ll take off in a Llyushin 76 MDK, a plane designed specifically for this purpose, completing a series of steep climbs and falls which will allow you to experience weightlessness for about 25 seconds at a time. For those uninterested (what are you crazy?!) you can opt to visit Moscow’s aviation museum instead.
With the training under your belt, you’ll board a flight (expect normal G forces) to spend the next three days in remote Baikonur, Kazakhstan, home to 30 percent of the world’s space launches. It’s from this site that Yuri Gagarin, the first human to visit space, launched in 1961 — so its got some serious space street cred. While in Baikonur, you, along with military personnel, the press, cosmonauts and their families will watch the early morning roll-out and raising up of the massive Soyuz Rocket.
With the rocket at the ready, you’ll then get VIP seating at a press conference featuring the rocket’s crew and gain behind-the-scenes access to the crew send off at the Cosmonaut Hotel. Back at the launch site, you’ll then be ushered to a special viewing area to watch the intensely powerful launch of the Soyuz into space on its mission to the International Space Station.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. The day after the launch, you’ll head back to the launch site and gather in a VIP seating gallery at Mission Control Center to watch a live satellite feed of the Soyuz docking at the International Space Station. The only thing better would be if you were on that rocket, but this will have to do for now.
Certain you’ll quit your job and become an astronaut, you’ll leave Baikonur and return to Moscow for a day and a half of visits to space museums, the Cold War Museum, the Kremlin and Red Square.
That $14,000 price tag isn’t looking so crazy after all.
This trip is offered if offered by MIR Corporation, a tour provider specializing in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and runs from November 25 to December 3, 2014. More info can be found here.