Russian space and aviation agency Rosaviakosmos is prohibiting any space tourist flying on Soyuz TM spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for at least the next two years in an attempt to resolve its dispute with NASA following the recent flight to the ISS of civilian Dennis Tito, who returned to Earth in Soyuz TM31 on 5 May.

Rosaviakosmos has dismissed a claim by Russia's Energia that there are 10 possible tourist candidates. Rosaviakosmos chief Yuri Koptev says that Tito only flew "because there was a spare seat" on the Soyuz TM32 and further Soyuz TMs will be crewed by "professional cosmonauts and astronauts".

Koptev adds that although space tourists may fly in the future, "We must discuss the procedure for their selection with the USA and European partners."

Energia had threatened to review its ISS agreement following NASA's insistence that Russia pay compensation for the interruption to ISS work during Tito's visit.

Source: Flight International