The Economist reports in their article Fly me to the moon that two companies are moving forward with tourist trips to the moon.
The article lays out the playing field as follows:
On June 19th Excalibur Almaz, a space company based on the Isle of Man, a British dependency in the Irish Sea, became the second company—after Space Adventures, an American space-tourism firm—to offer tickets for a commercial moonshot.
Space Adventures says they have already sold their first ticket.
Space Adventures will rework Soyuz spacecraft and Excalibur Almaz will rework four Reusable Reentry Vehicles and two Russian Almaz space stations originally built for their military.
The article outlines a long list of major technical problems yet to be solved, starting with things like getting the Soyuz into Earth orbit, getting Almaz craft from earth orbit to the moon, and protecting the Almaz passengers from solar flares.
The article also points out the fairly serious practical problem of finding people who want to drop $150M for a vacation and have time to spare for being tied up for several months of physical training and the one month (Soyuz approach) or six months (Almaz route) in space.
Check out the full article.
Next post – more background on Excalibur Almaz.