Dec 082012
 
Flights to the moon1

$1.4 billion should buy you a ticket

The last Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan, was the last man on the moon on December 19, 1972. Three further Flights to the moon planned to follow Cernan’s crew were scrapped due to budget cuts. But now a Company by the name of Golden Spike will be offering commercial space flights to the moon at an approximate cost of $1.4 billion per trip. Relying on private funding. Golden Spike’s announcement came on the eve of the 40thannirversary of the launch of Apollo 17.

Here’s part of the company’s announcement:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 6, 2012)

– On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17, the last human exploration of the Moon, Former Apollo Flight Director and NASA Johnson Space Center.  Director, Gerry Griffin, and planetary scientist and former NASA science chief, Dr. Alan Stern, today unveiled “The Golden Spike Company” – the first company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the Moon.

The company as you can see have some big names and have been quoted  “we realize this is the stuff of science fiction,” he said. “We intend to make it science fact.” The company studies reckon that after an initial landing, 15 to 20 expeditions could be undertaken in ten years.  It is thought that India and China are very interested and the company are already in talks with an individual who may be able to make a deal, although the company wouldn’t name the person.

Flights to the moon 1024x576 Flights to the moon

The moon trips architecture relies on launch vehicles currently in use or under development, such as ULA’s Atlas 5 or SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is under consideration as the crew vehicle. The lunar lander, however, has yet to be developed. Stern said Golden Spike is working with its partners to study concepts for the lander. The idea is to firstly place a lander station in lunar orbit and secondly deliver a two person crew to the station from where they would land on the moon.

There are some who doubt the success of this venture, such as John Pike, an expert on space policy who heads GlobalSecurity.org, He said, “How many countries are going to be prepared to spend money to be the 12th to land on the moon? … I think a lot of these rocket men are just taking too many happy pills.”

In a recent interview, the last Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan called for manned space exploration programmes to be accelerated and giving his views on a Mars expedition said: “I do think we need to go to the moon first to set up a base so we can use more advanced propulsion techniques. Am I willing to go to Mars? Yes, but I’m not willing to spend nine months getting there, then wait 18 more months until the planets align to come home. For Mars we need propulsion technologies to get us there in say, 60 days, then spend whatever length of time we want to spend – two months, six months – and return when we want to come home. That will require ion and nuclear propulsion and help from a base on the moon.”

 

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