Excalibur Almaz Pioneer Private Orbital Space Flight

By Ben Roberts

Back in 2009, Excalibur Almaz Limited (EA), an international space exploration company, announced plans to open up a new era of private orbital space flight for commercial customers, using updated elements of the “Almaz” space system originally developed by JSC MIC NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia. Now, EA is ready to send tourists to the Moon as early as 2015.

EA Founder and CEO Art Dula said, “Through cooperation with NPOM and with the support of leading space contractors around the world and an exceptionally strong management and advisory team, EA is in a unique position to initiate a new era of private orbital space exploration.”

Travelling around 800,000km, the converted Soviet-era spacecraft would cost customers up to $150 million. Each RRV (Resuable Rentry Vehicle) can carry three passengers and can be used 15 times, giving each spacecraft around fifteen years of life.

Where Virgin Galactic has introduced the weightless flight at 60 miles up, trips onboard the Excalibur Almaz would last around six months and present a completely different experience.

Cosmonaut Vladimir Titov, advisor to EA in Russia, said, "With this announcement, the dream of private orbital space exploration may become a reality in the very near future.”

By Ben Roberts