Lunar Tour - Space Adventures + RSC Energia
The possibility of manned flights to the moon on the Soyuz ships, while the development of the new Federation ship is being completed, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin announced on 28 June 2018. Using flight-proven Russian space vehicles Space Adventures planned to fly two private citizens and one professional cosmonaut on a free return trajectory around the far side of the Moon. They will come to within a few hundred kilometers of the Moon’s surface.
The so-called "free return" trajectories are defined as having certain symmetric properties which afford flight to the vicinity of the moon and return to earth without need for propulsion after the initial boost phase. The utilization of trajectory shapes which bring an exploring vehicle from the earth to a point arbitrarily near the moon and which, if allowed to continue, return the vehicle to the earth with such conditions that reentry and recovery are feasible, is attractive for low-cost and manned flights. If the periselenum occurs at the far side, the trajectory passes all the way around the moon and is often called "circumlunar". One of the most constraining requirements of the Apollo lunar landing mission was the free-return trajectory, as employed during Apollo 13. It severely limited the area on the moon that Apollo missions could reach. Although it was costly in terms of spacecraft performance requirements, the inherent safety feature of a free return trajectory made it a highly desirable method of getting to the moon.
Russia's Energia Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC Energia) is ready to offer tickets for a lunar tour aboard the Soyuz spacecraft; they will cost between $150 million and $180 million each, a source in the space industry told Sputnik on 25 September 2018. Space Adventures is an American company with which Roscosmos has entered into an agreement for the selection of non-professional participants in a space flight on a commercial basis. Roscosmos and Space Adventures have been cooperating in the field of space tourism since 2001, when the first space tourist, Denis Tito, flew into orbit. In total, during this time, 7 people visited the space tourism program in space, and Charles Simoni visited the ISS two times.
"RSC Energia has been developing a project to fly around the moon on the Soyuz spacecraft for many years, including providing tourist services. However, now the price of the ticket has increased slightly due to the revision of the economic requirements for the project, and the cost will be from $150 million to $180 million," the source said.Energia and the US tourism company Space Adventures which initially entered the commercial market with the offer of a lunar tour. At first, the ticket cost $150 million, and later the the price fell to $120 million due to lack of demand.
The ship is designed for space tourists. “This is about circling the moon. I think that by 2021-2022 RSC Energia will be the first to provide this service to the international market,” company CEO Vladimir Solntsev said February 22, 2017. He explained that the overflight of the planet’s satellite could occur five to six years after the conclusion of an agreement with interested parties. The corporation is already negotiating with candidates. Solntsev added that the modified apparatus will be equipped with "a powerful thermal protection, long-distance radio communication, descent control in the atmosphere with the second cosmic velocity and corresponding changes in a number of other systems."
The spacecraft may be launched with the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket - after that, the Angara carrier rocket would launch a transfer-orbit stage with an additional pressurized module into space, which would then couple with the Soyuz spacecraft and set off for the Moon. The exit to the near-moon orbit should take place according to a two-launch scheme. In this case, the Soyuz spacecraft is first displayed on the near-earth, and then the DM booster block with an additional hermetic compartment. After they dock, the block provides momentum to fly around the moon. “The fuel of the Soyuz ship will in this case be used to correct the ballistic trajectory,” said Solntsev. Russian developer of the Soyuz spacecraft RSC Energia offers flights to the near-moon orbit and back for $ 120 million, but to modernize existing ships and missiles it is necessary to find not less than 10 customers.
The Space Adventures team has designed a circumlunar mission using a unique combination of Russian technology. Crew would begin their journey to the far side of the Moon by first launching into space aboard a Russian spacecraft. This would dock with the International Space Station where the crew adapt to life in space for approximately 10 days. A second rocket would launch a Lunar Module comprising of a lunar living module and a propulsion module. The spacecraft would rendezvous with the Lunar Module in low-Earth orbit. The combination of your spacecraft and the Lunar Module provides ample living space for the approximately six day journey, and the fuel required to leave low-Earth orbit.
The cost of upgrading the Soyuz for flights to the Moon is tentatively estimated at $ 400 million, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said 25 March 2019 . He clarified that this amount includes the creation of the ship and the organization of the mission itself. "The Soyuz ship itself was originally created <...> as a ship for the exploration of the moon. It has the potential to enhance its thermal and radiation protection. If so, and this is so, then we are now considering of this spacecraft for flying around the moon, including as a commercial project. " - said Dmitry Rogozin.
For the "lunar" modification of the "Soyuz", it is necessary to create an acceleration unit that will send the ship to the Earth satellite, a new thermal protection that allows the ship to return to Earth’s descent at the second space velocity (11.2 kilometers per second). New power, communications and livelihood systems will also be required. In addition, it is necessary to install star sensors, manual control devices, an evaporation system, additional engines and oxygen cylinders.
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