Our behind-the-scenes exploration of the Russian space program features a VIP viewing of the manned launch of a Soyuz spacecraft.

Starting at: $14,295 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Russian cosmonauts  The raising of the rocket ceremony  Preparing for the launch of a Soyuz rocket  A Soyuz spacecraft  A Russian cosmonaut waves to onlookers  A Soyuz rocket in flight  Spectators at a launch  A group of Smithsonian Journeys travelers  Smithsonian Journeys travelers at launch site  The ISS Crew press conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel  The ISS Crew press conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel  Cold War Museum Bunker, Moscow  Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City   The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City  The Mir Space Station Simulator at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center  The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory  Moscow's Red Square, a World Heritage site  Moscow in the evening  St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

Inside the Russian Space Program

9 days from $14,295

Our behind-the-scenes exploration of the Russian space program features a VIP viewing of the manned launch of a Soyuz spacecraft.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Optional Cosmonaut Training

  • Optional Cosmonaut Training activities are offered. These optional training's require staying in Moscow for one or two extra nights. Pricing will be provided upon request.
  • Please call or ask us a question to register interest for our 2016 Optional Cosmonaut Training Extension.

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. One of the most exciting and enjoyable of the cosmonaut training exercises, the zero-G flight puts a huge smile on the faces of everyone involved.

• Includes medical exam and pre-flight briefing
• Roundtrip transfers to the flight
• Pre-flight expert instructions and in-flight instruction
• Zero-gravity flight in IL-76 MDK with 10 parabolic curves, 25 to 30 seconds each
• Special certificate upon completion

Centrifuge 4-G Training

Experience up to 4 Gs on a familiarization ride on the CF-18 centrifuge. 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 CF-18 can be described as a gigantic amusement park ride.

• Includes medical exam
• Roundtrip transfers to Star City
• Training and supervision of the complete process
• CF-18 centrifuge for approximately 3 minutes, up to 4 Gs
• Special certificate upon completion

*Medical exam at GCTC is required.

Orlan EVA Space Suit Simulator

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. The Orlan DMA has a rigid torso and flexible arms and is entered by a rear hatch in its backpack. Since it is designed for use in zero gravity, it is extremely heavy, so during cosmonaut training, the suit is suspended from a boom to simulate zero gravity. You will go through an actual training session that the current cosmonauts and astronauts perform. Learn to open and close hatches and complete a series of operations designed to simulate typical space tasks. The training will include explanations and preparations, donning an Orlan space suit, performing various tasks and maneuvers, and a post-training discussion.

• Includes medical examination
• Roundtrip transfers to Star City
• Instruction on safety measures
• Orlan spacesuit fitting
• Space-walk training about 1 hour
• Training debriefing
• Lunch at Star City
• Special certificate upon completion

(Two people may participate in the training at the same time. Medical exam at GCTC is required.)

MiG-29 Jet Fighter Flights

Enjoy high altitude aerobatics on a flight duration of 20 to 25 minutes.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 – U.S. and Moscow, Russia

Fly to Moscow, losing from eight (East Coast) to 11 hours (West Coast). Arriving in Moscow, meet fellow travelers at a welcome dinner. (D)

Day 3 – Moscow

Drive outside of Moscow to the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, or GCTC, in the once highly classified and secretive Star City. The center was established in 1960, and since 1968 has been named for Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Today the GCTC remains the premier training facility for Russian cosmonauts and foreign astronauts planning manned space flights.

Trace the evolution of the Soviet space program, exploring the Mir Space Station Simulator (the Mir was operational from 1986-2001), and learn about training joint Russian-American crews on the simulator of the International Space Station (ISS). At the massive hydro lab, or Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, learn how crews acquire skills for operations outside the space station under simulated weightless conditions. The world’s largest centrifuge, used for simulating G-loads, is on the program as well.

Enjoy lunch in the Star City cafeteria, used by the crewmembers in training and other facilitators of the Star City complex. Meet and talk with one of the Russian cosmonauts. Each participant receives a special certificate recognizing his or her visit to Star City. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Moscow, fly to Baikonur, Kazakhstan

Fly to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on the arid steppe of Kazakhstan. This is a special flight for those going to witness and participate in the launch. On arrival, enjoy an opportunity for a lecture or a meeting with a local guest speaker to prepare for the next few days. You will enjoy unparalleled access to VIP viewing areas and briefing sessions during your time here. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Baikonur

Begin with an early morning viewing of the roll-out of the awe-inspiring Soyuz Rocket. Follow the Soyuz to the launch pad site and watch the raising of the rocket together with the press, military personnel, cosmonauts and their relatives. 

Visit the main launch pad, the “Gagarin Start,” where the Sputnik launches took place, and mingle with the press and other guests. Visit the Baikonur Museum, the Yuri Gagarin and Sergei Korolev living apartments, the monument to the beginning of the Space Age, and the Zenit launch pad. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Baikonur

Tour the Buran hangar (approximately the size of the Astrodome) where the rockets are assembled, and one of several other launch pads. Visit the local school where students study and build model rockets. Attend the ISS Crew Press Conference at the Cosmonaut Hotel, a chance to ask any burning questions you may have of the next ISS crew. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Baikonur, launch of the Soyuz

Today is the day of the manned space launch of the Soyuz to the International Space Station. Witness the process before, during and after the launch. Experience behind-the-scenes events, including the send-off from the Cosmonaut Hotel and the Space Crew ready-to-go official report. Gather at the VIP launch viewing area for the heart-stirring launch of the Soyuz. (B,L,D) 

Note: The order of events and sites visited in Baikonur may be changed or moved around to coincide with the launch time window.

Day 8 – Baikonur, fly back to Moscow

This morning after breakfast, view the docking of the Soyuz with the International Space Station at a specially equipped theater in Baikonur. After the docking, transfer to the airport for a flight back to Moscow

Upon arrival in Moscow, take a private tour of the Cold War Museum Bunker. Over 200 feet below Moscow is the Secured Command PostTagansky,” an abandoned relic of the Cold War built to withstand a nuclear attack. Stocked with food and provisions, the 75,000-square-foot space was meant to sustain 5,000 people for three months. Ordered by Stalin in 1951, the shelter was finished in 1956, and soon became a secret communication bunker and, reportedly, a missile control center. A tour of the formerly secret bunker includes a video presentation on the Cold War. 

Raise a toast to an out-of-this-world journey during the festive farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Depart Moscow

Depart Moscow for the U.S.  Those taking the optional cosmonaut training spend an extra day or two in Moscow training at Star City and depart to the U.S. the following day.  See tour extensions for descriptions of Optional Cosmonaut Training in Star City. 

Dates subject to change depending on the Soyuz launch schedule.