'Space Adventures,' the space tourism company, has confirmed there are already two clients who have paid to reserve a flight around the moon on board the space ship Soyuz. This trip, predicted for 2017, costs some 110 million euros, being the most expensive trip this company offers.
This offer, in addition to the expensive trip, requires important changes on the Russian capsule, a vehicle that has not undergone large variations in recent decades. 'Space Adventures' has explained that the Russian engineers are preparing it for its new destination, which means a change in communication systems and ship navigation.
“We are also going to have to change the heat protector because it will have to return to Earth at a speed that is significantly faster than normal” in a lunar mission, the President of 'Space Adventures,' Tom Shelley, explained. Even so, they are considering the possibility of the engineers guiding the landing of capsule Soyuz until it comes into the atmosphere and it slows its speed, before falling to the ground with a parachute.
The Soyuz also needs a new bedroom module to provide the crew more space to live during the week of the trip from Earth to the Moon and back. In this sense, Shelley has pointed out that the crew of this mission will be commanded by a professional Russian cosmonaut and two passengers—which will bring with them more than 220 million euros.
“Basically, we are taking the same Soyuz that flies to the space station, making some modifications to allow it to go to the side of the moon, and adding an extra bedroom module, which will be more comfortable for the passengers,” the President added.
It's not the only offer this company has, which also has trips scheduled to the International Space Station (ISS) for 38 million euros. There have already been seven tourists who have flown to the orbital module and the eighth is scheduled for 2015. It will be the British opera singer Sarah Brightman who planned to be the first professional musician to sing from space.