July 27, 2005
A Really Big Ticket to Ride

Anybody wanna buy me a ticket?

Russia's federal space agency took a giant leap in the field of cosmic tourism yesterday with the announcement it will offer a $100m (57m) trip to the moon.

Roskosmos leaked details of the project as Nasa's space shuttle Discovery prepared for launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. A source at the Russian agency confirmed to the Guardian that the technology was in place for a flight to be launched within 18 months of a down payment.

The Soyuz system was designed initially as the USSR's answer to Apollo, so they definitely have a crew vehicle that'll do the trip. Not sure if they have a booster that'll get them from the IIS to the moon, but if they say they have that capability, hey, who am I to disagree?

Anyone have Donald Trump's number handy?

Posted by scott at July 27, 2005 11:56 AM

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Wait - I dunno about flying the friendly skies with them. I seem to remember that their 'return to earth' module on their space station was either us coming to the rescue or a parachute (one was to be shared by the entire crew...). So, they might be able to get you to the moon - but could they get you off it and back in one piece?

Posted by: ronaprhys on July 27, 2005 12:03 PM

It's not a landing, just ("just" ... ha!) an orbit or two. Much simpler. The IIS uses a Soyuz capsule as a lifeboat, yes, that's why it's limited to just 3 people at a time when it was (IIRC) designed for more than twice that. However, the article gives me the impression you'd be using a purpose-launched Soyuz system for the moon trip, and not the lifeboat.

Soyuz capsules have been operating without incident for something like thirty years now. The Russians may not have the fanciest gear in the world, but it's hard to claim it doesn't work.

Posted by: Scott on July 27, 2005 12:07 PM

Well, that makes it a bit more feasible. And you could even pay them in vodka. I'm sure Joshua can find us plenty of different fun types to bribe them with...

Posted by: ronaprhys on July 27, 2005 12:18 PM
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