Space Adventures Chairman Eric Anderson and board member Richard Garriott are holding a teleconference to discuss the company’s circumlunar tourism flight and projections for the future of space tourism. Here are my notes:
Eric Anderson – Space Adventures Lunar Flyby
- We have sold the first of the two seats on the circumlunar flight program
- Soyuz docks with ISS and crew visits station for 8-10 days to get acclimated to space, await booster stage
- Separate Proton rocket launches a block DM upper stage engine and an additional habitation module…substantial addition to the volume available for translunar flight
- [Editor’s Note: the hab module appears to be based on the Soyuz orbital module but with key modifications, including what appears to be at least one large window]
- Soyuz docks with the upper stage and hab module….3 ½ day voyage to the moon – 3 ½ day voyage home with a direct entry…
- One seats is now sold – “very exciting” – begun negotiations with second client – hopes to announce the final deal by the end of the year….
- “Another watershed event” for private spaceflight…”very exciting thing”
- No new technology required – reprogramming of systems, improvements to heat shield and other systems
- Questions about how people would like going to the moon in a compact Soyuz …. Even before the addition of the hab module, Soyuz has the orbital module attached…three entire compartments with hab module….will provide an “extraordinary comfortable” trip to the moon and back….more room than on Apollo moon flights….
- “We’ve planned a mission now that I think is quite suitable…with a high degree of comfort and reliability.”
Q. Why has the price gone up from $100 to $150 million?
- Cost will be from $120 million to $150 million depending upon the specifics of the flight…
- Reduction in value of dollar, inflation, monopoly…same issues as have affected the Soyuz seat cost increases…
- Will take four years from signing of contracts….if the second tourist agreement is signed by end of year, then will fly by end of 2015…
- First participant wants to do a “really, really meaningful” mission – will address a concept that is really important to the world…
Q. Will there be a test flight? Can you provide more details on the hab module?
- There will be a test flight….unsure of whether it will be manned or unmanned…
- Test flight will take place about a year before
- The hab module combined with the Soyuz will be 18 cubic meters (600 cubic feet)….doubles the size of the Soyuz on the inside….really improve the living experience on the flight…
- The extra hab module will also have the consumables needed to make 7 day trip to the moon and back….something that doesn’t exist in the current Soyuz ferry
Q. What has been the development cost for mission?
- Won’t give a total, but it has been in the range of tens of millions….not hundreds of millions…
Q. Possible Boeing Partnership on going beyond LEO?
- Yes, we’re always talking to people….some interesting mission concept that we’ll be able to talk about in the next few months….
- Want to push the boundary of what’s possible technically, feasible from a cost perspective, and what could be exciting to clients…
- The envelope will be pushed and remind us of the age of exploration….the moon is not the only destination….lots of things that would be interesting beyond LEO….
- first return to the moon like to be privately done, not by governments…