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Russia: Tour explores space program, from Star City to launch pad

Tap your inner cosmonaut on a trip behind the scenes of the Russian space program

Star City was once the secret site in Moscow where Russian cosmonauts trained for trips to outer space. Now a nine-day tour takes you there, offering an insider's look at the history of the space program and even some zero-gravity cosmonaut training.

And there's a blastoff too. Seattle-based Mir Corp. takes the group to Baikonur, Kazakhstan, where a manned Soyuz rocket readies for a flight to the International Space Station.

"We will observe the early-morning rollout of the Soyuz rocket and follow it to the launchpad site together with the press, military personnel, cosmonauts and their relatives," company President Douglas Grimes said in a statement. "The following day we will gather in a VIP seating gallery at Mission Control Center for the live satellite feed of the Soyuz docking."

Before and after the launch, participants explore the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center and hear firsthand accounts of outer space from a cosmonaut, and visit sites such as the Space Exploration Museum and a Cold War bunker hundreds of feet below Moscow.

When: The trip runs Nov. 25 to Dec. 3.

Price: $14,295 per person, double occupancy. It includes hotels, meals, airport transfers, round-trip flight to Kazakhstan, sightseeing tours and guide. International airfare is extra.

Info: Mir Corp.'s Inside the Russian Space Program, (800) 424-7289


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