Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man space tourism blow as capsule departs island

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Media captionIs the dream over for Isle of Man space tourism?

The departure of a Russian space station from the Isle of Man signifies the "end of Manx space tourism," according to a government minister.

Space exploration and tourism company Excalibur Almaz imported two capsules in 2011 and planned to use them for space holidays costing £100m.

The company was unavailable to comment on where the 11m (36ft) long space station, built in the 1980s, is going.

The capsules are similar to those still on the International Space Station.

Manx Economic Development Minister Laurence Skelly said: "I am saddened to see the end of the potential space tourism project - however it is not the end of the Isle of Man's space industry which is alive and well."

Image caption Each of the two Russian space stations are 36ft (11m) long and 13ft (4m) in diameter

In 2011, the then director of the government's business development agency, Tim Craine, told BBC News their arrival was "evidence of the island's growing profile and reputation in the space world."

The previous year the Isle of Man had been named the fifth most likely nation to put the next person on the moon.

Only the United States, Russia, China and India were ranked ahead of the island in a report released by industry analysts Ascend.

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Media captionA company in the Isle of Man is offering travellers a chance to go ... into space

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