A British company is now offering seats to adventurers wanting to go the extra mile on a historic journey to the moon. The first 500,000-mile round trip in a converted Soviet-era space station could take place as early as 2015!
However, only those with the 'right stuff' should apply: besides the necessary level of physical and mental fitness, that includes a likely fare of around £100 million per person! US space entrepreneur Mr. Dula has acquired two Soviet 'Almaz' space stations, designed for orbital spying operations. Thrusters attached to the stations will convert them to long-distance spaceships. They are also equipped with four re-entry capsules, or re-usable return vehicles, which will ferry three people at a time to the orbiting space station and return them to earth.
All the space vehicles are housed in hangers on the Isle of Man. If the bold plan succeeds, a private British space company will carry out the first manned moon mission since Apollo 17 in 1972. The aim is for three people to fly to the moon, orbit the lunar surface and return safely to earth, parachuting to the ground in an RRV. Much of the actual flying will be computer-controlled and all necessary training, including the human skills needed to pilot the spacecraft will be provided in the package. A giant Russian Proton rocket, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, will put the 30-ton space station into orbit. One of the two Salyut-class space stations will be kept in reserve on the ground.