Space tourism is space travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. A number of startup companies have sprung up in recent years, such as Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace, hoping to create a sub-orbital space tourism industry. Orbital space tourism opportunities have been limited and expensive, with only the Russian Space Agency providing transport to date. The publicized price for flights brokered by Space Adventures to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been US $20–40 million, during the period 2001–2009 when 7 space tourists made 8 space flights. Some space tourists have signed contracts with third parties to conduct certain research activities while in orbit.
Russia halted orbital space tourism in 2010 due to the increase in the International Space Station crew size, using the seats for expedition crews that would have been sold to paying spaceflight participants. Orbital tourist flights are planned to resume in 2015. As an alternative term to "tourism", some organizations such as the Commercial Spaceflight Federation use the term "personal spaceflight". The Citizens in Space project uses the term "citizen space exploration". As of September 2012, multiple companies are offering sales of orbital and suborbital flights, with varying durations and creature comforts.
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