Today I'd Go ... Inside the Russian Space Program

Amy Bertrand, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 15, 2012

Every Thursday I like to write about a place I'd love to go, usually in my dreams because in real life I don't have the time or the money. This week, it's an absolute once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation: a 10-day tour inside the Russian space program.

From the email I received explaining the trip:

Inside the Russian Space Program 2012 - Witness the manned launch of the Soyuz spacecraft on its way to relieve the crew of the International Space Station, while enjoying unparalleled access to VIP viewing areas and briefing sessions. Back in Moscow, take in the classic sights before you witness the live Soyuz-International Space Station docking at Mission Control Center, an event that very few get to experience in such an intimate way. Explore the MIR Space Station simulator; visit the Soyuz-TMA integrated simulator and the ISS mock-up. At the massive hydro lab, learn how crews acquire the skills to walk in space. If you've ever dreamed of space travel, here is your chance.

October 9-18, 2012*. Trip starts at $14,000 per person.

Optional Cosmonaut Training (extra charge):

-Centrifuge - Experience up to 4 Gs on a familiarization ride on the world's largest centrifuge, the TsF-18. Simply put, the centrifuge is a long arm with a capsule on one end where the cosmonaut trainee sits. Used for checking and improving cosmonauts' G-load tolerance, the TsF-18 can be described as a gigantic amusement park ride.

-Zero Gravity Flight - Take the ride of your life on a parabolic zero-G simulation flight. Float, soar, cartwheel and hang weightless in the padded cabin of an Ilyushin-76 military transport aircraft as crew members stand by to assist. Orlan Space Suit Training

-Don a Russian-engineered Orlan space suit, created especially for spacewalks. These are the suits used by cosmonauts when they leave the International Space Station to perform experiments or routine maintenance.