Space tourists with deep pockets and dreams of recapturing Cold War nostalgia need look no further than Excalibur Almaz. The new company is asking $35 million for a weeklong stay aboard a Soviet-era military spacecraft.
Excalibur's purchase of the Russian military-surplus "Almaz" reentry capsules turned heads in August. But the latest announcement firmly sets Excalibur up as a competitor with Space Adventures, the only private outfit that currently offers rides into orbit aboard the three-man Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
The Almaz spacecraft represent a 1970s throwback to a time when the Soviets envisioned human crews flying into orbit to secretly spy on enemies under the cover of being civilian research stations. One Almaz orbiter even came armed with an automatic aircraft cannon in the event of a "Moonraker" style space battle with the United States.
Both the United States and Soviet Union eventually realized that unmanned satellites represented a more cost-effective alternative for spy stuff. But the Almaz spacecraft may now fly again aboard a Russian Proton or Soyuz rocket, or possibly even the private U.S. Falcon 9 rocket.
Flight International reported that Excalibur conducted a private market survey, and found would-be customers yawning at the suborbital jaunts offered by the likes of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. That led Excalibur to aim for the weeklong orbital experience.
Most people may gag at a $35-million space vacation, but it's not unprecedented. The first repeat space tourist, Charles Simonyi, paid the same amount to fly with Space Adventures for a 13-day stay aboard the International Space Station.
Riding in a three-person Almaz spacecraft might represent a more cramped space tourism experience. But then again, perhaps that's a small price to pay for a ride in 2013 aboard one of the first armed spaceships in history.
lol, cool, but I'm going to wait until the 2030's or 2040's, when prices go down, and there's better technology. I'm only 25, so I have plenty of time to wait, as I plan on living for centuries. =)
FAR TOO EXPENSIVE... YOU COULD BUILD YOUR OWN SPACE SHIP AND FLY TO WHICHEVER GALAXY YOU CHOOSE AND BACK FOR 10% OF THE PRICE !!!!!!
The words 'surplus' and 'Soviet' bring to mind that lovely Soviet build quality that has killed so many of their own. Scarey thought taking an old heap into space, especially when you never know if it was built right, or something was overlooked, or it wasn't built to a high enough standard. They have a hard enough time with their jets and nuclear subs.
This kind of pricing is definitely just the incentive to get new space partners up and running, and make no mistake, we need them all if we are to make space ventures cost effective endeavors. Kudos to those rich and adventuresome enough to help out in these early days.
Cool but they'll have to design a service module for the VA vehicle as it's normally launched attached to a TKS vehicle that provides propulsion,life support and living quarters.
You gained access to the TKS station via a hatch in the heat shield.
The VA reentry craft by it's self is only capable of a few hours of autonomous operation.