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Russia's private space travel company plans to create launch pad at Baikonur

CosmoCourse chief Pavel Pushkin says the company hopes to make 115 launches a year

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. Russia’s private company CosmoCourse, having ambitious plans for space tourism in Russia, is in talks with Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos and the center responsible for operating ground space infrastructures over plans for creating its own launch pad at the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan, CosmoCourse chief Pavel Pushkin told TASS.

"We have been offered to use several older launch pads, mothballed a while ago, or to build new infrastructures. There was also a proposal for using the Vostochny spaceport, but we need unpopulated desert areas to make landings," Pushkin said.

Previously, some proposed using the Kapustin Yar proving ground in the Astrakhan Region.

Pushkin says the company hopes to make 115 launches a year.

"In the end we will have about 700 space tourists a year, provided one spaceship seats six," he said. Pushkin is certain there are enough wealthy people around the world capable of paying $200 million - $250 million for a space flight. According to the company’s website, the first suborbital flight may take place in 2021.

According to earlier reports, CosmoCourse is working on a reusable spacecraft for suborbital space flights. According to the plan a crew of six passengers and one instructor will be able to make a 15-minute flight at an altitude of 180-220 kilometers. The period of zero gravity will last five to six minutes.

Private companies, such as Blue Origin, founded by the US online retailer Amazon Jeff Bezos, and Virgin Galactic, owned by British multimillionaire Richard Branson, are known to be working on similar projects.

In 2015 Blue Origin made a successful soft landing of the first stage of the New Shepard rocket. It is in the process of designing both a capsule and booster for space tourism. The capsule will seat a crew of six.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will accommodate six passengers and two pilots. It will be launched with the WhiteKnightTwo plane.