Thursday, June 21, 2012

Excalibur aims Soviet Almaz "to Moon by 2015"

One of two surplus Soviet-era ALMAZ "gunboat" space stations arrives at Excalibur, on the Isle of Man. The company hopes to charge customers $156 million for round-trip orbital excursions to the Moon by 2015. The formerly secret station cores are similar in design to the Soviet Salyut space stations [].
Brid-Aine Parnell
The Register

Isle of Man based space tourism firm Excalibur Almaz has said that it will be ready to rocket the rich to the Moon by 2015.

The company told a space tourism conference that it was planning the first test flight of its fleet of second-hand ex Soviet capsules and space stations in 2014 and would be ready to send a well-off civilian on a lunar trip the following year, The Telegraph reports.

The company has so far purchased four capsules and two disused space stations - once part of the Soviet era "Almaz" ("Diamond") program - from the Russians, and plans to get launch rockets from the same source.

Excalibur Almaz is that same firm that said back in 2009 that it would be offering week-long tourist trips in space from 2013 for $35m. So clearly, it's moved a deadline or two before, and the price has also gone up by quite a lot. The firm reckons the first few trips to the Moon will cost £150m, falling to £50m over the next ten years of trips.

Read the full article, HERE.

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