July 1, 2012
PRIVATE MOON MISSIONS MAY USE recycled spaceships.
Space tourists may soon be able to pay their own way to the moon onboard old Russian spacecraft retrofitted by a company based in the British Isles.
The spaceflight firm Excalibur Almaz estimates that it can sell about 30 seats between 2015 and 2025, for $150 million each, aboard moon-bound missions on a Salyut-class space station driven by electric hall-effect thrusters.
Excalibur Almaz founder and chief executive officer Art Dula estimates it will take 24 to 30 months to develop the remaining technology needed and to refurbish the ex-Soviet spacecraft and space stations the company already owns. It bought four 1970s-era Soviet Almaz program three-crew capsules and two Russian Salyut-class 63,800-pound (29,000 kilograms) space station pressure vessels.
Art Dula’s a good guy. I’ve known him since he came to speak about space law at Yale back when I was a student.