A private company is preparing manned moon journeys meant to be sold for a price of about $1.5 billion each, the company's owners declared at the National Press Club meeting in Washington on Thursday, December 6.The missions are planned to start by 2020, offering a two-person-trip for the same price unmanned flights are being currently performed, announced Alan Stern, the Golden Spike company's president.
There are no restrictions regarding the type of people who can benefit of the offer. Although the project leaders are mostly considering the nations who lack their own space agencies, certain scientific groups or adventurous and rich people for the missions.
“We're selling to nations, corporations and individuals. Get in line — and I think it's going to be a long one,” Stern declared, as cited by Space.
“We have spoken to space agencies from both Asian and European countries and found real interest,” he added.
No spacecraft has been yet chosen for the trip; however, the company's officials have declared it is most likely an already built vehicle might be chosen in order to ensure the project's cost reduction. They are expecting to have a final decision by the end of 2014.
The company's owners said the date they announced their plans wasn't a meaningless one: it is the eve of the 40th celebration of Apollo 17 having been launched to the moon.
“We looked for a meaningful date, and we picked today. There's a little bit of poetry with this,” Stern declared.
Golden Spike project is not the first of its kind. Other private companies have targeted the moon for expensive ventures before; however, none of them has implied sending people to the moon so far.
“A reliable pathway to the Moon — 'Earth's eighth continent' will open our nearest neighbor in space to extensive new exploration, and also open it to the imagination of people everywhere,” declared Homer Hickam, author of the book “Rocket Boys” and one of the numerous supporters of the project.