Shooting For The Moon: The Greatest Tour On Earth

If you’ve got an extra $100 million and want to boldly go where just a few have gone before, then set your sights on an orbital flight with Space Adventures.

In an agreement announced this week with Russian space officials, this Arlington, VA company plans to send 2 passengers on a 10- to 21-day journey that may include the International Space Station. Ready to go now? Not nyet.

Chief Executive of Space Adventures, Eric Anderson, said the trip could be done as early as 2008. And if you think only a handful can afford it, think again. His company figures that up to 1,000 people could pay for it. “It’s the same number of people who could afford to buy a $1o0 million yacht,” he boasts. In fact, two people have already paid the company about $20 million each — Dennis Tito was the first space tourist. Greg Olsen is set to blast off this October.

While the Soyuz vehicle doesn’t have the power to reach the Moon, the Russians have a plan. They would send up a separate booster rocket from Kazakhstan as the Soyuz is launched. The spacecraft would then dock with the booster, which would propel it towards the Moon. As it slingshots around the Moon, the green cheese-cratered rock’s gravity would position Soyuz to return to Earth. The Soyuz capsule would separate from other parts of the spacecraft, so the re-entry capsule lands back in Kazahstan.

See the Space Adventures Website for details about flying to the Moon — but no golf, lunar rover, or landing is planned.

Posted by Gil Zeimer on August 11, 2005 in Travel

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