Baku. 18 July. REPORT.AZ/ Baikonur is the only place in the world offering space flights for private individuals and so far eight people have taken up the offer since 2001, spending around 10 days on the International Space Station (ISS) with two other trained cosmonauts or astronauts.
Before launch, space tourists must complete five months of training spread over a year, mostly at Moscow's Star City, learning everything from the principals of flight to eating in zero-gravity.
"They learn how to go about daily life in space - how to prepare food, go to the bathroom, keep themselves clean, and perform scientific experiments when they're on board," explained Tom Shelley, president of Space Adventures, the company arranging private missions into space.
"They go through different simulations for launch and zero-gravity, the phases of the mission, and then what do if something goes wrong," he said of the cosmic tourists who are housed in the Russian segment of the ISS.
Once at the station, visitors can even venture outside for a space walk -- "to look back down on Earth from another perspective can be very emotional," said Shelley -- and help conduct scientific research on everything from back pain, to eyesight, and crystal growth.
The company's first client was multimillionaire American engineer and investment entrepreneur Dennis Tito, in 2001.