June 23, 2012

Space Tourism Now Possible: Take a Space Flight to the Moon for $155 Million

Space tourism will soon be a reality
Now, not being a rocket scientist won't disqualify you from boarding a space shuttle. A commercial aerospace company named Excalibur Almaz announced this week at a space tourism meeting in London, that space tourism is possible and possibly imminent. The Daily Mail reports that Dula, the company's founder and CEO, told the people at that meeting, "we're ready to sell tickets."

The tickets, according to the Financial Times, will cost an estimated $155 million. People who hope to experience the final frontier, however, will need more than money. Travelers will have to prove that they are mentally and physically capable of the trip, which is a total of 500,000 miles and will take an estimated six to eight months.

Tourist trips to the moon could begin as soon as 2015. Dula explained that, per marketing studies, enough tickets could be sold for one mission a year between 2015 and 2025.

As the Daily Mail explains, "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 [a reusable return vehicle]. Much of the actual flying will be computer-controlled and all necessary training, including the human skills needed to pilot the spacecraft, is provided in the package."

Dula plans to differentiate his missions from those of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic by having them be "private expeditions" rather than a sightseeing tour. Therefore, while Branson plans to charge $200,000 per ticket to fly 68 miles above Earth's surface in SpaceShipTwo starting next year, Dula wants to bring in additional revenue by doing research. This might include mining an asteroid for resources.

Moreover, Dula, a 65-year-old patent and space lawyer from Houston,is impressed by the technology his company uses. "Excalibur Almaz is willing and able to send crewed missions deeper into space than would be possible aboard any other spacecraft in existence today," he said. "There is not a single other vessel, owned by a government or the private sector, that is suitable for a manned flight to lunar orbit, utilising proven technologies. The EA fleet has previously flown to space several times and will undertake many more missions. It contains vessels of a design that has spent thousands of hours in space successfully. This is scientific fact, not fiction."

Dula's company will use Soviet-era space vehicles, and the module will orbit the moon. It will not land on the lunar surface, however.

In March, the FAA predicted that private space travel will become a billion-dollar industry within the next decade.
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