Space Adventures planning for lunar tourism

Eric Anderson, 37, is the founder of Space Adventures, a company that acts as the middleman for rich people who want to go to space and the Russian space program that sells the seats on the Soyuz rockets. Air & Space Magazine profiles Anderson and tells what it took to launch the space tourism business. The next space adventure he hopes to offer is a flyby of the moon. Check out the commercial above. Tickets are just $150 million each. From Air & Space:

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The mission plan… now calls for a liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with two passengers paying at least $150 million each, along with a professional cosmonaut as spaceship commander. The crew will ride in a modified version of the Russian workhorse, the Soyuz-TMA.

Another rocket, a Proton, would launch an additional habitat module designed specially for the mission, which will double the living space and carry more supplies, plus a Block-DM upper stage, normally used for boosting communications satellites to higher orbits. These pieces will link together in Earth orbit, and the Block-DM will fire to send the combined Soyuz–habitat module into deep space.

Three and a half days of travel will bring the crew around the far side of the moon, the face that Earthlings never see. The crew will skim the mountaintops without going into orbit, swing back around to the front side, and then head home to Earth—a figure-eight trajectory similar to the one traveled by the crew of Apollo 13. After another three and a half days, the crew’s Soyuz reentry module will hit Earth’s atmosphere and parachute down to the Kazakh steppe.

"Extraterrestrial Outfitter"


  1. Damn!  Wish I had 150 million.  It’s cool to see how much simpler a moon mission becomes when you can stage the various components in space rather than trying to launch them from Earth in one payload.

    Then again, the Russians haven’t actually sent anybody to the moon before, and do have a history of crashing probes into the moon so…  Hopefully the’ve checked all their math…

  2. Have these people actually done test flights? It sounds too risky, but I agree with Roy…good way to get rid off the 1%

    1. Yes. “Deep Space” refers to anywhere beyond Earth orbit – the only humans to have been into deep space are the Apollo astronauts.

    1. A mis-adventure fraught with potential for unmitigated disaster :)

      The real money comes from the betting windows by the viewing area.

  3. In essence, Mr. Anderson wants $150m to send you on a replay of the 1968 Zond 5 free return trajectory, the benefit being that the mission wouldn’t require anything in the way of navigation to get home, the risk being a ballistic 20G re-entry if the crew screws the pooch on the end game.

    1. “Star City, we have a problem. Our commander has had a heart attack or something and died. What do we do now? I’m a hedge fund manager not an astronaut!”

  4.  $150m is sure a lot of cabbage — previous space tourism flights were all $20m-$35m

    sure, the moon is a harsh mistress, but how many people will be able to come up with the fare? net worth of the space tourists has been in the $100s-of-millions to single-digit billions, and if i had a billion i’d be pretty tempted, but if i *only* had $250m?

  5. I like the way that he speaks in such stirring terms of the project, calling it a “historic mission”, rather than “sending very very rich people on a jaunt around the moon”.

    I must remember to refer to my next vacation as a “mission”.

    1. Previous space tourism flights have been hitching a ride on a mission that was going up anyway, AFAIK. This looks like it’s a launch especially for the paying customers, which would be the first of that kind — in other words, historic.

      As Arclight says below, this is a step towards further, more generally useful, space-related developments in the future.

  6. Eric, sorry but the Soyuz is not the greatest spacecraft ever.  You really jumped the shark with that comment and it ruined your entire pitch.

    1. I find it a little ironic that someone with the user name “figurative” had that particular complaint about Mr. Anderson’s use of the phrase “greatest spacecraft ever.”

      1. Well, I find it ironic that he called Soyuz the greatest spacecraft ever. He could have said…

        “One of the greatest…”

        Or any other number of realistic descriptors.  But to call it the greatest ever just smacks of boosterism and vacuous cheerleading for his hardware providers.

        I suspect most fair minded space enthusiasts would rightly claim that the Lunar Module (the first real manned space fairing vehicle) to be the greatest.

  7. Why all the anger and bitterness in the comments? This would be an incredibly cool thing to do, and may help open space for further development in the future.

  8. Hmm, just for fun I’m going to play conspiracy theorists advocate and bet that NASA and probably a few other “organizations” wouldn’t want anyone getting a look at the dark side of the moon.

      1. Oh I know that photo, I was playing ‘conspiracy advocate’ – in which one could also say that that photo comes to us after extensive filtering and photoshopping so we don’t see whatever they wouldn’t want us to see there. But actually going there in person poses a problem for that.
        This is all just fun speculation.

  9. Kbert: In some senses, it *is* ‘deep space’. It’s beyond the Earths’s magnetic field, which shields low orbit from solar radiation (eg, the ISS). Flight outside that shield is risky, since a solar storm at the wrong time could kill you, or make you very, very sick. The Apollo astronauts were taking a significant risk.

    This is a problem which will need to be solved if we’re ever going to have a chance for manned missions to other planets.


  10. um, hasn’t anyone noticed that this video is a pitch for money?  “I want you to help me… on behalf of all of mankind.”

    yeah right, those rich bozos can pay for their own private trips. I won’t be subsidizing it, thanks.

    1. Isn’t that kind of the point? Get the rich bozos to subsidize it, so that the technology can be developed and the price-point dropped to a reasonable level?

      Like those rich bozos that paid thousands of dollars for the first-generation CD players?

  11. Exactly! With any luck, by the time Carnival is booking similar cruises the price will be down to something affordable like $35 million, and I’ll be able to coax the captain into a Luna Park flyover (“the happiest place orbiting Earth”). Then, just a small bribe for the radio operator to tune in Whalers on the Moon on the UHF, and my bucket list is complete. What’s the worst that could happen?

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