US space tourism firm Space Adventures is offering a spaceflight around the moon to private tourists on “proven” Russian Soyuz spacecraft – saying that the sponsors will not have to wait for long for their trip.
Space Adventures has posted a statement describing its ‘Circumlunar’ mission on its website.
“Using flight-proven Russian space vehicles we will fly two private citizens and one professional cosmonaut on a free return trajectory around the far side of the moon. They will come to within 100km of the moon’s surface,” the statement said.
The exact price of the space trip is not listed. “The price of the spaceflight depends on the vehicle you choose, the timing and the exact mission profile.”
Meanwhile, Space Adventures estimates that the first mission will kick off by 2018.
Some of the main attractions on the journey will include an “illuminated far side of the moon” and“Earth rising above the surface of the moon.”
The space adventure will begin with the launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. The travelers will then disembark at the International Space Station where they will spend 10 days.
A second rocket will then launch a Lunar Module, which would consist of a lunar living module and a propulsion module.
The Soyuz spacecraft will rendezvous with the Lunar Module in low-Earth orbit. The other part of the journey will take six days, according to the company.
Space travel has been making waves in the entrepreneurial world of space discovery.
In May, Russia’s Energia Rocket and Space Corporation announced that anybody willing to go to orbit may travel to the International Space Station for $45-50 million via the Soyuz spacecraft for a two-week tour.
Back in 2012 US space entrepreneur Art Dula, founder and chief executive of Excalibur Almaz, said he is planning to send 30 people to the moon and back by 2025. He has bought two 1970’s-era Soviet space stations and four re-entry capsules from Russia.
Meanwhile, an ambitious crowd-funded project Mars One has narrowed down the candidates for its first Mars colonization project to just 705 out of 200,000 earlier this year.
Of the shortlisted 418 men and 287 women from all over the world, only six teams of four will be eventually selected, according to the project’s plan.
Despite massive enthusiasm surrounding the project, many are still skeptical it will be able to raise even the very modest set sum of $6 billion to cover the flights, the equipment and the preparations for establishing a human settlement on Mars. So far, a total of $544,000 has been raised, as of February 28.
However, the project’s team hopes to turn the first Martian settlers’ work into a reality show to help raise the money.