|Mission type||ISS crew transport|
|Mission duration||12 days (planned) |
|Spacecraft type||Soyuz MS|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||8 December 2021 (planned) |
|Launch site||Baikonur Cosmodrome, Site 31|
|Contractor||Progress Rocket Space Centre|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||20 December 2021|
|Landing site||Kazakh Steppe|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Regime||Low Earth orbit|
|Docking with ISS|
|Docking port||Poisk zenith|
Soyuz MS-20 is a Russian Soyuz spaceflight to the International Space Station planned for launch on 8 December 2021. Unlike previous Soyuz flights to the ISS, Soyuz MS-20 will not deliver any crew members for an ISS Expedition or serve as a lifeboat for any crew members on board the station, but will instead fly a short-duration mission, ferrying two paying space tourists to the ISS for a set number of days. The Soyuz will be commanded by a single professional cosmonaut on board, and the two space tourists will be provided by space tourism company Space Adventures, which has already successfully planned and executed seven space tourism missions to the ISS.
Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, a veteran of two long duration missions to the ISS, will Command the Soyuz, which has been modified to allow it to be flown by a sole Cosmonaut.
|Commander|| Alexander Misurkin, RSA|
|Spaceflight participant 1|| Yusaku Maezawa, SA|
|Spaceflight participant 2|| Yozo Hirano, SA|
|Commander||Alexander Skvortsov, RSA|
For some time, it was speculated that Austrian airline pilot Johanna Maislinger would have taken one of the two spaceflight participant seats, although on 13 May 2021 Space Adventures confirmed that Japanese art collector Yusaku Maezawa had acquired both seats, one for himself, with the other being taken by his production assistant, Yozo Hirano. This will be the first time that two Japanese space fliers are launched together.
Soyuz MS-20 will mark the first flight of a space tourist since Canadian space tourist Guy Laliberté launched onboard Soyuz TMA-16 in September 2009. British singer Sarah Brightman was originally scheduled to fly onboard Soyuz TMA-18M in 2015, although she cancelled her flight before launch.
Soyuz MS-20 will mark the first of at least two completely commercially dedicated Soyuz flights flown by Roscosmos, the second being Soyuz MS-23, which is scheduled for launch in October 2022 and will also ferry one Russian cosmonaut and two commercial astronauts to the ISS for six months.
This flight will also mark a departure from the traditional way space tourism has been done. On previous flights, the space tourist's mission would take place during either a "taxi" flight, where Soyuz lifeboats on the ISS were being swapped, allowing for a week or so-long mission, or during handover periods between crews, where the space tourist would launch with an incoming long-duration crew and land with the outgoing long-duration crew. Soyuz MS-20 is a departure from this model as it involves a flight entirely dedicated to space tourism. American company Axiom Space also has a deal for a similar flight with SpaceX, where an Axiom-hired professional astronaut will fly with three paying space tourists to the ISS on board a SpaceX Dragon 2 spacecraft, scheduled for January 2022. Space Adventures themselves also have a similar deal with SpaceX, although instead of going to the ISS the flight will be a free flight tourism mission orbiting at roughly twice the altitude as the ISS.