BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Sci/Tech
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 5 December, 2001, 17:36 GMT
Contestants told to 'come on up'
Space tourist Dennis Tito, AP
The prize is a chance to follow Dennis Tito
A trip to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian rocket is the prize in a TV show announced by a US-based media company and the private European space finance company MirCorp.

MirCorp says it has done a deal with the Russian space authorities to put the two people of its choice into space.

"We have acquired the rights to allocate two seats on Soyuz missions and Image World Media are the company we've chosen to allocate them to," MirCorp's spokesman, Gert Weyers, told BBC News Online.

The first seat will go to the winner of a show called Ancient Astronaut, "a 13-part television contestant programme series based on mankind's 4,000-year-old fascination with the theory that Earth's history has been influenced by visitations from extraterrestrial beings," the two companies say in their announcement.

'African in space'

The two Soyuz missions are "taxi" missions to the ISS of the kind made by the world's first space tourist, US millionaire Dennis Tito.

They are supply trips involving an eight to 10-day stay in space, docked for most of the time to the orbiting platform.

The second seat will be allocated to a later television series, the partners say.

The American space agency (Nasa) was extremely unhappy about Mr Tito's presence aboard the ISS in April, but did a last-minute face-saving deal with the Russian space authorities intended to make the event a one-off.

Any reaction by the US space agency to this announcement is likely to be hostile, particularly as it coincides with the Russian space agency's announcement of a second space tourism trip by 28-year-old South African internet millionaire Mark Shuttleworth.

Mr Shuttleworth is due to sign a contract on Wednesday with the Russian space agency Rosaviakosmos and the Russian aerospace firm RKK Energia to take part in another Soyuz taxi mission, Rosaviakosmos said on Monday.

The South African says on his African In Space website that he will fly to the space station in April 2002.

E-mail invitation

MirCorp and Image World Media say that if it is not possible for their Soyuz mission to dock with the ISS, the winner of their show will make what they describe as an autonomous space flight without docking with the international platform.

MirCorp has a record of involvement in the commercial use of space, having partially funded the Russian Mir space station towards the end of its mission.

It has also done a deal with the Russian authorities to investigate the feasibility of putting a private space station into orbit.

Image World Media and MirCorp say they are already looking for participants in the show.

They are asking would-be space tourists to direct their requests to

See also:

28 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
First space tourist blasts off
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Sci/Tech stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Sci/Tech stories