Ticketed Passengers Only Aboard Soyuz ('TANSTAAFL' Says Roskosmos)

Russia's space agency Roskosmos announced that it would stop giving free rides to US astronauts beginning in 2006. US space shuttles have been grounded since February of 2003, when the shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry.


(From Soyuz/ST rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan)

Roskosmos is hoping to expand its space tourism program; two people are currently under consideration for flights on a Russian space craft to the International Space Station. So far, two passengers have paid $20 million (US) for tourist trips to the ISS aboard Soyuz craft.

Passengers to distant celestial bodies in science fiction stories have long been used to fare-based space travel. In his 1953 novel Second Foundation, Isaac Asimov not only sells tickets to far-flung solar systems, but uses automatic ticket machines to boot:

And the voice that cut in on her was a thunderclap that iced the scream in her throat into a voiceless slash.

"Look, miss," it said, irritably, "are you using the ticket machine or are you just standing there?"

It was the first she realized that she was standing in front of a ticket machine. You put a high denomination bill into the clipper which sank out of sight. You pressed the button below your destination and a ticket came out together with the correct change as determined by an electronic scanning device that never made a mistake. It was a very ordinary thing and there is no cause for anyone to stand before it for five minutes. Arcadia plunged a two-hundred credit into the clipper, and was suddenly aware of the button labeled "Trantor." Trantor, dead capital of the dead Empire – the planet on which she was born. She pressed it in a dream. Nothing happened, except that the red letters flicked on and off, reading 172.18– 172.18– 172.18–

It was the amount she was short. Another two-hundred credit. The ticket was spit out towards her. It came loose when she touched it, and the change tumbled out afterward. (Read more about Asimov's automatic ticket machine)

In The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke even pointed to cheaper ticket prices being an advantage of the space elevator:

In addition to avoiding the danger, noise and environmental hazards of rocketry, the space elevator would make possible quite astonishing reductions in the cost of all space missions. Electricity is cheap, and it would require only about a hundred dollars' worth to take one person to orbit. And the round trip would cost about ten dollars, as most of the energy would be recovered on the downward journey! (Of course, catering and inflight movies would put up the price of the ticket. Would you believe a thousand dollars to CEO and back?)

The head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov, stated that a barter system would also be acceptable. Read more at Russia to end free space rides for US Astronauts.

And 'TANSTAAFL?' Stands for there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. And appropriately, it's explained in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by a Russian character. Read more at TANSTAAFL.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/4/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Spacecraft ")

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.

SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.

Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS
'Why, the ship wasn't a proper deep-space craft at all.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.