For the space enthusiasts amongst us, there is only one trip abroad that will satisfy our wanderlust. And that is a trip to the Moon; we’ve all just been waiting for a company to make it happen. Well we are happy to report that a group of former NASA employees have come together and launched a private business company called Golden Spike, and they are offering two person trips to the Moon and the total cost? A mere £950 million or $1.5 billion. Well we knew it wouldn’t be cheap. The ex space executives will have to buy up existing rockets and capsules, and have to make sure that new spacesuits and any landing gear are up to scratch.
So far there are no glossy brochures to show what we can expect from in-flight accommodation or the type of spacesuits we would have to wear, but there is some promotional material that shows what it might look like when we touch down. It is thought that the firm is developing the lander and spacesuits for any future missions with third party firms, and buying the rest of the equipment from existing space firms.
The last man to step onto the Moon’s surface was over forty years ago and we recently saw the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon. The American was one of several US astronauts who had the privilege of stepping out onto the Moon’s surface, indeed, it was only US astronauts that did so. The Soviet Union was the first country to send their cosmonauts into space and so began the race to the Moon that lasted for most of the sixties. Since the Moon was conquered however, there has been little interest in space exploration and in fact, some people question the amount of money that is poured into NASA’s reserves.
President Barack Obama himself, cancelled NASA’s planned return to the moon, saying America had already been there. However, Alan Stern, who is president of the new Golden Spike Company, disagrees with waning interest, saying: “It’s not about being first. It’s about joining the club,” Stern said. “We’re kind of cleaning up what NASA did in the 1960s. We’re going to make a commodity of it in the 2020s.”
It is thought that the first private flight to the Moon could be as soon as within this decade and then up 15 or 20 launches total. Golden Spike is not the only private space company that is seriously thinking of sending people up to the Moon, many other private space companies have started up recently, but it is thought that few, if any, will make it.
One such company, Space X, is already hugely successful in ferrying up cargo to the International Space Station for NASA. But carrying equipment and supplies are a whole different matter to transportng human beings.
Golden Spike say: “Private sector human expeditions to the Moon are now feasible, primarily using existing space systems or those in development. The Golden Spike Company is working to implement and operate a human space transportation system at commercially successful price points. Our company is comprised of veteran space program executives, managers, engineers and entrepreneurs focused on generating a sustainable human lunar exploration business that generates profits through multiple high value revenue streams.”
Don’t think I could afford it but it would be an amazing view though wouldn’t it?