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Coming in Russia: A special tour for space fans

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Attention all rocket persons: Here’s your chance to get a first-hand look at a once-secret cosmonaut training center in Russia, take a simulated Zero-G ride through space, enjoy a VIP seat at an actual rocket launch and then watch it dock with a space station. It’s all yours in MIR Corporation’s new nine-day “Inside the Russian Space Program” tour.

Slated for Nov. 25-Dec. 3, the tour starts off in Moscow, where you’ll visit the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia’s famous Star City, the premier training facility for Russian cosmonauts and foreign astronauts. After that you’ll explore the MIR Space Station Simulator, visit the Soyuz-TMA Integrated Simulator and a mockup of the International Space Station (where among other things you’ll learn the ins and outs of walking in space).

For gutsy members of your group, optional activities there include: experiencing up to 4 Gs on the world's largest centrifuge; taking the ride of your life on a parabolic Zero-G simulation flight; donning a Russian-engineered Orlan space suit (created especially for spacewalks) and learning how to do all kinds of simulated space tasks.

After moseying around an aviation museum packed with MiGs, Yaks and Tupelovs, you’ll fly to a remote Russian launch facility at Baikonur on the Kazakh steppe.There, you’ll join top international space officials, space veterans and the like at the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. The next day you’ll sit in the VIP section to watch a live satellite feed of the Soyuz docking at the ISS.

After flying back to Moscow you’ll have lots of time for sightseeing before hopping on a jet back to the States.

The tour starts at $14,295 per person, including round-trip air between Moscow and Baikonur. The tab doesn't include your flights from home to Moscow nor your return flights from Moscow, but MIR staffers can help coordinate your flight itineraries.

More info: Based in Seattle, Wash., the MIR Corporation has specialized in tours across Europe and Asia since 1986. You'll find info on all of MIR's tours and instructions on how to get a free catalog on the company's website.

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