The goal is to give the general public a ringside seat to not only the flight but also the development and construction of the hardware involved, sources said.
Golden Spike is going to involve a very significant public participation role in the lunar mission.
The company has signed up a number of prominent media figures to be involved in the effort. Golden Spike will also focus on generating interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers in the same way that the Apollo program inspired students in the 1960s.
Officials will unveil their plans for human trips to the moon on Thursday at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., at 2 p.m. EST.
NASASpaceflight.com, which first broke the news, reports that “the effort is led by a group of high profile individuals from the aerospace industry and backed by some big money and foreign investors.”
S. Alan Stern, the former NASA science chief who now works for the Southwest Research Institute, is the registered agent for the company, which is located in Colorado and incorporated in Delaware.
NASASpaceflight.com has also reported that:
The company intends to use “existing or soon to be existing launch vehicles, spacecraft, upper stages, and technologies” to start their commercial manned lunar campaign.
The details point to the specific use of US vehicles, with a basic architecture to utilize multiple launches to assemble spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The details make direct reference to the potential use of propellant depots and fuel transfer technology.
Additional notes include a plan to park elements in lunar orbit, staging a small lunar lander that would transport two commercial astronauts to the surface for short stays.
The architecture would then grow into the company’s long-term ambitions to establish a man-tended outpost using inflatable modules. It is also understood that the company has already begun the design process for the Lunar Lander.
The name “golden spike” has historical resonance for anyone building a transportation system. The Golden Spike was a ceremonial final spike driven by Leland Stanford to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. This act completed America’s first transcontinental railroad, uniting the nation from coast to coast.