The final frontier in holiday destinations: British company prepares tourist trips to the moon (it's a 500,000-mile round-trip and will cost you £100million)

By Eddie Wrenn
PUBLISHED: 15:17 GMT, 19 June 2012 | UPDATED: 08:44 GMT, 20 June 2012




A British company is offering seats to adventurers willing to go the extra mile on a historic journey to the moon.
The first 500,000-mile round trip in a converted Soviet-era space station could take place as early as 2015.
Art Dula, founder and chief executive of Isle of Man-based Excalibur Almaz, told a space tourism meeting in London: 'We're ready to sell the tickets.'

article 0 13AE67DE000005DC 349 634x531 - British companyprepare tourists to Moon costing 100m$ Ready for the moon: Jenn Sander, wearing a spacesuit once worn by US Astronaut Peggy Whitson, sits inside a re-entry capsule owned by Excalibur Almaz


article 0 13AE688B000005DC 785 634x461 - British companyprepare tourists to Moon costing 100m$ This is your suite, sir: Interior view of one of the capsules, designed to fly people to the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972


Only those with the 'right stuff' should apply: besides the necessary level of physical and mental fitness, that includes a likely fare of around £100million per person.
US space entrepreneur Mr Dula has acquired two Soviet 'Almaz' space stations, designed for orbital spying operations.
Thrusters attached to the stations will convert them to long-distance spaceships.
Four re-entry capsules, or re-usable return vehicles (RRVs), will ferry three people at a time to the orbiting space station and return them to earth.
All the space vehicles - the cost of which is confidential - are housed in hangers on the Isle of Man. One of the RRVs is currently being exhibited outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster, London.

article 2161646 13B1C2CB000005DC 323 634x450 - British companyprepare tourists to Moon costing 100m$ One small step for man: Customers will first dock with one of the space stations orbiting Earth before being blasted into the Moon's orbit more than 238,000 miles away
article 2161646 13B1C2E5000005DC 144 634x439 - British companyprepare tourists to Moon costing 100m$ New frontiers: Much of the actual flying will be computer-controlled and all necessary training, including the human skills needed to pilot the spacecraft, is provided in the package by Excalibur Almaz
If the bold plan succeeds, a private British space company will carry out the first manned moon mission since Apollo 17 in 1972.
The aim is for three people to fly to the moon, orbit the lunar surface and return safely to earth, parachuting to the ground in an RRV. Much of the actual flying will be computer-controlled and all necessary training, including the human skills needed to pilot the spacecraft, is provided in the package.
Speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, Mr Dula outlined his company's ambitious plan.


Marketing studies suggested, at a 'conservative estimate', that around 30 moon-mission seats could be taken up between 2015 and 2025: enough for one mission a year.

article 2161646 13B1C2D9000005DC 362 634x380 - British companyprepare tourists to Moon costing 100m$ To the great beyond: The aim is for three people to fly to the moon, orbit the lunar surface and return safely to earth, parachuting to the ground in a shuttle like this





article 2161646 13B1C2C2000005DC 836 634x928 - British companyprepare tourists to Moon costing 100m$ Shuttle bus: Four re-entry capsules, or re-usable return vehicles (RRVs), will ferry three people at a time to the orbiting space station and return them to earth