Britain could turn out to be the first country to fly a tourist around the moon, after an Isle of Man-based firm announced that it would be prepared to take passengers on private lunar expeditions by 2015.
Excalibur Almaz will charge wannabe astronauts an average of £100m for a six-eight month journey exploring deep space.
Three wealthy people, or astronauts from emerging powers will be crammed into a reusable capsule the size of a waste skip and launched by rocket to a space station. After the two vehicles link up, they will travel on to the Moon.
“It is like how private British companies led expeditions to the South Pacific in the 17th century,” stated Art Dula, founder of Excalibur Almaz. “We’ve just gone from seafaring to spacefaring.”
The company, run by Americans, chose to be based in the Isle of Man because of the island government’s commitment to the space sector, which ministers forecast will soon make up much more a third of its gross domestic item. The lack of corporation tax and proximity to the City are also benefits.
In contrast to SpaceX, its US rival, Excalibur Almaz has not received any American government subsidies. Its greatest benefit is its second-hand Soviet spacecraft which have helped Excalibur Almaz keep away from the laborious process of developing and testing new equipment.
Sources and more information:
With all the noise around SpaceX and Elon Musk, what with the recent successful docking with the ISS and all, it’d be easy to forget there are other players in the burgeoning commercial space race too. Excalibur Almaz is Britain’s answer to SpaceX, and it’s planning to send men back to the moon and beyond – and as early as 2015, too.
Tours to the moon possible from 2015 – and you’re invited Space has been a theme that’s enthralled so many for many years. From sci-fi TV shows, to the American moon landing, and more recently tests of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic “glider” that’s due to send paying customers into space in by 2015.