Fly Me to the Moon ...
Around the Moon for $100 Million
A Russian rocket maker is offerring rides to the moon and back for $100 million. There'll be plenty of takers I'm sure. But ... ain't much a guy could do if things went wrong. To me it sounds like a very expensive vanity suicide.
Would YOU go?
Russian Rocket Maker Offers Rides Around the Moon for $100 Million
By Vladimir Isachenkov
MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian rocket manufacturer is proposing sending space tourists on a ride around the moon for $100 million, and a top official of the nation's space agency said the project could be viable.
Nikolai Moiseyev, deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, said the agency had just started considering the proposal by the RKK Energia company.
The trip around the moon would include a weeklong stay aboard the international space station, Energia chief Nikolai Sevastyanov said Wednesday. The project would involve reliable Soyuz booster rockets that have been the mainstay of the Soviet and Russian space program since the 1960s.
"The project is absolutely realistic and we have come close to implementing it," Sevastyanov said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
The cash-strapped Russian space program has sought to supplement scarce government funding with revenues from space tourism. California businessman Dennis Tito paid the Russian space agency about $20 million for a weeklong trip to the international space station in 2001, and South African Mark Shuttleworth followed suit the a year later.
A millionaire U.S. scientist, Gregory Olsen, has signed a deal with the Russian space agency to fly to the orbiting station as early as October, when the next Soyuz mission is scheduled to bring supplies and a new crew to the station.
Sevastyanov said sending space tourists to fly around the moon could help generate interest in its exploration, including tapping helium-3 as an energy source to satisfy energy demands back on Earth.
Scientists believe the moon's supply of helium-3 could be used in futuristic fusion reactors on Earth that would generate electricity without producing nuclear waste. Such fusion technology could also power rockets for deep space travel in the future.