Space firm to offer private missions to the moon by 2020
Golden Spike, the organisation founded by former NASA workers, plans on offering commercial expeditions to the surface of the moon, to take place as early as 2020.
In 2010, NASA associate administrator Alan Stern and former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin, along with some of their contemporaries, discussed the company’s strategies to sending organisations and individuals on a lunar expedition. They concluded that it was a possibility, as long as the correct business strategy was put in place.
The concept received a vote of support from NASA, who had to cancel their “back-to-the-moon” plan two and a half years ago under Obama’s administration.
Stern said: “We realise this is the stuff of science fiction. We intend to make it science fact.”
“The time is ripe for commercial human lunar exploration,” Griffin told journalists, although the programme would be heavily reliant on private funding. The cost to send two people to the moon has been rumoured to be between $1.4 (£871m) and $1.5 billion dollars (£936m) and is aimed at attracting foreign countries and scientists as well as wealthy individuals.
Although they have not elaborated on any pending contracts, Golden Spike must attract enough clients to make this a profitable and worthwhile exploit. While Gerry Griffin believes it is an “affordable US-based commercial human lunar transportation system,” other discussions have deemed the programme simply too expensive.
The programme plans to act as a catalyst to promote space travel and to increase the presence of human beings beyond the earth’s atmosphere. Its long-term intention is to push the boundaries of space travel, where a future destination may be Mars, or even beyond.