Space travel: Moon vacations possible, for a price
A Virginia company is developing a 17-day vacation in space that includes a trip around the moon.
“Who wouldn't want to go to the moon if they had a chance?,” asked Tom Shelley, president of Space Adenctures, a Northern Virginia-based space travel agency.
As the Christian Science Monitor first reported, Vienna-based Space Adventures is working with the Russian Federal Space Agency to create a vacation that would include a visit to the International Space Station. After 10 days on the space station, a Russian module will take guests around the lunar surface before returning to the ISS, and then back to Earth.
But it doesn't come cheap. “Ballpark figure, and this is just an illustration, it's around $150m for one person,” Shelley said.
For that much cash, it’s bound to be quite a remarkable journey.
“This trip will take people around the moon, around the far side, you emerge from the far side and see earth rise above the surface of the moon which is a pretty incredible sight,” said Shelley.
You'll receive training with Russian cosmonauts, a ride of a lifetime on board the Soyuz rocket, and a 10-day stay inside the International Space Station.
One person has signed up so far, but Shelley won’t reveal who. That mystery passenger won't be taking the trip alone.
“The mission won't happen unless we have the second seat. We're in disussion with a number of different people about that second seat,” Shelley said.
If another person decides to go by the end of the year, lift-off could come in 2015. This would make the pair of space travellers the first private citizens to see the moon up close.
The duo would be trendsetters, Shelley thinks. In the last 50 years, just over 500 people have flown to space. “I predict that in the next 10 years alone that number is probably going to be closer to 5,000 people, and that's pretty exciting that's going to bring space much closer to every human,” he said.
Space Adventures has already sent 8 people to the International Space Station since 2001. The company's next mission is a private landing on the moon.
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