Excalibur Almaz Shoots for the Moon and Beyond

Excalibur Almaz's space tourism vehicle concept. (Credit: Excalibur Almaz)

Excalibur Almaz is looking beyond sending its Soviet-era space vehicles and stations into Earth orbit and is actively working on human missions to the moon, asteroids and lagrange points.

Excalibur Almaz CEO Art Dula outlined the company’s plans on Sunday during the International Space Development Conference in Washington. Based upon Twitter posts by attendees, here are the highlights:

  • The company has four reusable capsules (with four seats) and two space station pressure vessels that it is upgrading with modern technology
  • Planned services include crew and cargo transportation from Earth to LEO, lunar orbits and lagrange point 2 (L2)
  • EA is working with: MDA and Ad Astra (VASIMR engine) on asteroid rendezvous scenarios; ULA (launchers); Astrium (ATV-based propulsion system); NASA (Space Act Agreement on commercial crew); and Futron (marketing studies)
  • Company appears to be no longer interested in providing commercial crew services to ISS
  • Possible launch vehicles include Atlas V, Falcon 9 and Zenit
  • EA had looked at buying Sea Launch (Zenit boosters) a while back (Sea Launch is now 95 percent owned by Energia)
  • Based on Futron studies, total 2013-2023 market demand is 29 lunar passengers paying $100 million apiece
  • Key flight element (manned spacecraft) has been flight tested with re-entries (albeit without people on board)
  • EA will discuss its business plan and display a twice-flown re-eentry capsule during a Royal Aeronautical Society space tourism meeting in London on June 19
  • EA will display cis-lunar spacecraft during a space conference on the Isle of Man in July
  • Dula has spent as much time on U.S. ITAR (export control) issues as he has on engineering (American company using Russian technology now based on the Isle of Man).

Story based upon the Tweets of:

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