June 12, 2008 Google co-founder Sergey Brin has forked out a US$5 million deposit to reserve a seat on future orbital spaceflights and join the select group of private space tourists. Space Adventures, the company that helped Dennis Tito become the world’s first private astronaut in 2001, has also announced an agreement with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) to launch a dedicated mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011.

By investing to become a member of the Space Adventures' Orbital Mission Explorers Circle, Brin has the option to fly to orbit with preferential access to mission seats, or he can opt to sell their seat to another private astronaut.

“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,” said Mr. Brin. “Space Adventures helped open the space frontier to private citizens and thus pave the way for the personal spaceflight industry. The Orbital Mission Explorers Circle enables me to make an immediate investment while preserving the option to participate in a future spaceflight.”

“Space Adventures has established the Orbital Mission Explorers Circle to build a definitive consortium of future private space explorers who share a lifetime goal of orbital spaceflight or the investment therein. Space Adventures has initially created six ‘Founding Explorer’ positions in the Orbital Mission Explorers Circle, each of whom will have priority access to participate in future orbital space missions,” said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures.

The recently announced agreement for a 2011 spaceflight opportunity will be a fully dedicated mission of the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft with two seats available for private space explorers. The deal will also see Space Adventures contribute to the increase of launch capacity to the ISS.

The "next cab off the rank" in the Space Adventures program is video game programmer Richard Garriott. Garriot, who is also the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, will become the company's sixth orbital spaceflight client when he travels to orbit in later this year.

And if you can't scrape together the $5 million deposit (or the balance of somewhere around $15 million), Space adventures is offering sub-orbital flights for just over $100K and there's still a number of other options for prospective space tourists on the horizon. If on the other hand you want to go further, Space Adventures is also planning a Lunar Mission with two seats up for grabs at a cost of $100 million.

Further information is available at the Space Adventures site.

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