One of the two available tickets on Space Adventures’ planned 2015 flyby of the moon has been sold, astronaut Byron Lichtenberg confirmed at an MIT conference today. If you’re sitting on a small fortune and want to see the far side of the moon, act fast before the last seat on the Soyuz spacecraft is gone.
Space Adventures, a Virginia-based company, has been planning a lunar flyby since 2005. It offered the two seats aboard a Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft that will fly around the moon in a mission scheduled for 2015. Anderson won’t say who purchased the first $150 million ticket, but hinted that you’ll know the person’s name when you hear it.
What could a potential space traveler expect if they purchased the last remaining seat on Space Adventures’ moon flyby? The no-frills Soyuz TMA carries one pilot and two passengers. It launches on a three-stage rocket, and will require extra propulsion for a moon flyby. After the Soyuz is launched, a second launch will send a rocket booster into low Earth orbit to rendezvous with the Soyuz and provide the addition propellant. It’s the extra fuel and equipment needed to travel a quarter of a million miles—as opposed to simply journeying to the International Space Station or into orbit—that causes the insanely high price of the lunar trip.
The lunar flyby will become a bit more affordable in the years to come—technological breakthroughs will bring down the trip’s cost into the low millions.