The ship will orbit the Moon and return to Earth without stopping by at the ISS
Specialists at the Russian Space Corporation Energia are searching for tourists who would like to go an incredible space trip. The ticket price is $100 million.
A tourist will have to take a 2-week leave of absence. The Soyuz rocket will cary him to the International Space Station when he is expected to stay for a week. During his stay on board the ISS, the tourist will adjust to zero-gravity conditions. He will also watch the crew dock an additional booster block DM-3 to the Soyuz so that the vehicle can bring him to the Moon.
The ship will be under command of a pilot cosmonaut who will also perform the duties of a mission commander, an engineer, a cook, a steward and a guide. The ship will orbit the Moon and return to Earth without stopping by at the ISS.
Estimated price of the ticket to the Moon is $100 million. The Soyuz pilot is expected to get about $3.5 million of the above sum. Colonel of the Russian Space Force Yuri Shargin became the first volunteer to the position of the pilot. Mr. Shargin already traveled to the ISS in 2004.
“The documentation has been just submitted for consideration to the agency, it seems to be a pretty viable project,” said Alexei Krasnov, head of the manned space programs department of the Federal Aerospace Agency. According to him, the Soyuz rocket is the most reliable means of transportation for space travels. The DM-3 booster blocks are also used on a regular basis for deploying satellites into orbit. The experience gained by the Americans shows that no additional anti-radiation protective equipment is required for the crew. “No doubts about it, we would like to land on the Moon, not only orbit it, but so far we have no equipment for such operations,” said Mr. Krasnov. Needless to say, the mission costs will soar in that case
Should the project get a go-ahead from the Federal Space Agency, the corporation will be looking for a millionaire who would volunteer himself for the mission. Once the money is in place, the corporation will start the implementation of the project. Preparations are expected to take from 18 to 24 months.
The tourist Soyuz will be flying over the Moon at an altitude of 100-200 km. It means the crew will be able to make out the traces left on the Moon by the U.S. Apollo lunar missions e.g. abandoned landers. The longstanding dispute over the American lunar missions will be probably resolved as a result.