The moon may soon be a tourist destination for millionaires with Excalibur Almaz, a British spaceflight firm, preparing to sell $150,000 tickets aboard a 1970s Soviet space station retrofitted with new thrusters
Excalibur Almaz plans to use its Salyut-Class Spacecraft and RRVs as an orbital and cislunar transportation system. These components unlock the potential to accomplish the most ambitious private space missions to date. Cislunar missions will explore the limitless, cyclical orbital pathways that lead to a vast array of destinations including the moon, near-Earth asteroids and gravity-stable destinations called Libration (or Lagrange) Points. These orbits will take travelers farther from Earth than any human has ever traveled before. EA can also take travelers close to the lunar surface. Asteroids could eventually be visited, explored and mined. These exciting mission profiles will inspire humanity to live, work and thrive in space!
Moon trips would begin as early as 2015. Dula said last month that his company could sell in the neighborhood of 30 tickets over the following decade for a a $4.5 billion haul, making half of its investment back in the first three years alone.
Excalibur Almaz plans to insert the space station cores into low Earth orbit atop a Proton rocket, while using the Soyuz-FG rockets that ferry crews up to the ISS to take passengers in Almaz RRVs up into space. The company is also open to using alternative rockets for its manned flights, such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Once in low Earth orbit, the Almaz spacecraft would dock with the space station cores, which would serve as the long-haul vehicles for the trip to the Moon and back. The reusable Almaz capsules would come along for the trip and then be used to travel back down to Earth.