Soyuz Mission to the Moon Surfaces — Again

Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)
Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Like the elusive Loch Ness Monster, a plan to send a cosmonaut and two tourists looping around the moon in a modified Soyuz transport has once again surfaced in the Russian media.

Sputnik News reports that RSC Energia General Director Vladimir Solntsev told Izvestia that officials have a preliminary design for the upgraded Soyuz and are considering eight potential applicants willing to pay $150 million apiece to fill the two open seats, including a Japanese family.

The plan, which is a partnership of RSC Energia and Space Adventures, has been around for many years. There’s discussion about it and media stories and everything seems to be moving forward, and then like Nessie it disappears for years at a time.

They’ve had a preliminary design for quite a while now. The image above showing the modified Soyuz dates back to 2011. I also recall that Space Adventures officials have said they had already sold at least one of the two tickets.

A couple of years ago, Space Adventures CEO recorded a video in which he said he hoped to fly the mission in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire that killed Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. That anniversary will occur on Jan. 27, 2017.

The eight people interested in the flight have been told that it could take place by 2020.

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  • windbourne

    yes, but adding the NEW stuff would be a different line with different people. And it would be new.

  • JamesG

    Not really. Same Soyuz man-rated dept. and the whole Roscosmos MSF bureau. It would just be a new version of proven architecture and systems.

  • JamesG

    It is. Assuming the Russians don’t screw it up, which… they have a penchant to do.

  • Jeff2Space

    Original Soyuz was designed for lunar missions. Current Soyuz electronics are another question entirely.

  • Jeff2Space

    While there are surely commonalities between the 1970s Zond/Soyuz and today’s Soyuz, there are huge differences too. The electronics aren’t the same. Only the Russians know if they are “radiation hardened” for a lunar trip. LEO operations experience far less radiation than beyond LEO operations.

  • publiusr

    Could this be used to send Soyuz to the Deep Space Hab now being discussed
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Space_Habitat

    If so, a progress resupply ship could be used BEO