The company that pioneered commercial space travel by sending “tourists” up to the International Space Station is planning a new mission: rocketing people around the far side of the moon, AP reported Thursday.
The price of a round-trip ticket is $100 million US.
The first mission by Space Adventures could happen in 2008 or 2009 and is planned as a stepping stone to an eventual lunar landing by private citizens.
“For the first time in history, a private company is organizing a mission to the moon,” Space Adventures chief executive Eric Anderson said at a Manhattan news conference yesterday, a day after space shuttle Discovery safely returned to Earth. “This mission will inspire countries of the world, citizens . . . our youth.”
Anderson said he already has prospective “private explorers” who are interested in the trip and could afford the ticket.
The initial travelers would be the first to orbit the moon in more than 33 years, according to the Arlington, Va., company. Only 27 people have ever made such a journey, reports Mosnews.
According to Reuters, potential customers already discussing the $100 million tickets include several Americans and one Briton, Anderson said.
Aside from wealth, potential moon travelers will need time to train for the mission and must meet health requirements.
Space Adventures and Russia's Space Agency, which is eager to attract extra funds, have sent two tourists into space -- U.S. businessman Dennis Tito and South African Mark Shuttle worth - on week-long trips. They cost $20 million each, according to media reports.
Energiya, the Russian company that helps build and fly Moscow's spaceships, will build the equipment necessary for the round-the-moon mission.
At the end of July, Space Adventures said Gregory Olsen, the co-founder of camera technology company Sensors Unlimited Inc. in New Jersey, will become the third private space tourist with a scheduled Oct. 1 launch date.