back to article Ex-Soviet space gunboats to be FOUND ON MOON

Isle of Man based space tourism firm Excalibur Almaz has said that it will be ready to rocket the rich to the Moon by 2015. The company told a space tourism conference that it was planning the first test flight of its fleet of second-hand ex Soviet capsules and space stations in 2014 and would be ready to send a well-off …

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  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Are they also selling bridges ?

    And if so, would *you* buy one ?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      WTF?

      Re: Are they also selling bridges ?

      I'm sure that if they did, what you'd actually get would be an old crane lying on its side, with the word "Bridgge" hastily sprayed on it and some planking glued on top.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Are they also selling bridges ?

      WHICH MOON ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT THE ONE THATS CALLED THE MOON OR ONE OF THE OTHERS

  2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Joke

    Sir

    Where did they buy their massive electro-magnetic field generator to protect from solar flares?

  3. It wasnt me
    Happy

    Wow.

    Im sure you didn't, but that whole story reads like a 7 year old just made it up.

    Unbelievable what some people will do to get their name in print.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Wow.

      That's nothing compared with this

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Wow.

        Re Big Brother TV show in space: could work, if you choose which cretin goes out of the airlock, especially if they did that Total Recall style eye-bulging asphyxiation routine.

        I once heard someone suggest putting a mission to Mars on pay-per-view, making it self-financing. Anyone car to throw some back-of-a-beer-mat figures at it?

        300 million subscribers, at $50 dollars a head, = £15 billion... is that the right ball park?

  4. Neil 23

    Soviet-era space vehicles?

    That can only end well...

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Soviet-era space vehicles?

      I seem to remember that they were just as reliable - if not more so - than the NASA equivalent. Are we forgetting the Apollo fires, two destroyed space shuttles and a certain Tom Hanks movie?

      1. Turtle

        @Greg J Preece: Reliability: Re: Soviet-era space vehicles?

        Errrr, the Soviets hid their failures. No live broadcast of Soviet launches, for example, whereas the US did have press coverage and/or live coverage of the early launchers which often ended catastrophically. For example, the Apollo 1 fire had an exact counterpart in a Soviet space program accident which killed one of their cosmonauts and the cause was the same: using a mixture too rich in oxygen. If the Soviets had not hidden this accident, it is entirely possible that the Soviet accident would have served as a lesson to the NASA and a less oxygen-rich mixture would have been used. (NASA was not, then, what is seems to be now.)

        At any rate, your perception of the reliability of US vs USSR space hardware would seem to be highly impacted by Soviet secrecy.

        See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_space_program#Incidents_and_setbacks for a very cursory overview or see what James Oberg has been writing on the subject, especially after the advent of glasnost' and then the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

        1. No, I will not fix your computer
          Stop

          Re: @Greg J Preece: Reliability: Soviet-era space vehicles?

          >>Errrr, the Soviets hid their failures.

          Yes, they DID, but we know about them now, and the ratio of casualties is about 3:1 (one Russian died for every three Americans), which considering that USSR/Russia actually had more manned launches, did more things first and spent longer in space is actually a pretty good record.

          >>the Apollo 1 fire had an exact counterpart in a Soviet space program accident

          Errrrrmm... exact? one was a hyperbaric chamber/living quarters (Rus) and one was on the launchpad of an actual spacecraft (USA), one was attributed to poor organisation when the incident occurred (Rus) and the other was attributed to a large number of design and construction flaws (USA), one was in a variety of pressure and O2 mix levels (Rus), not less than 50% during the incident, the other was a high pressure pure oxygen environment (USA).

          >>the Soviet accident would have served as a lesson to the NASA and a less oxygen-rich mixture would have been used

          Is this a back-handed way of both criticising the Russians for their accident and blaming them for Apollo 1? Seriously? do you think that the Apollo1 scientists, after the accident suddenly went "I've just realised, things burn really well in 100% O2 atmospheres, well that was a bit of a surprise."

          1. Turtle

            Re: @Greg J Preece: Reliability: Soviet-era space vehicles?

            ">>Errrr, the Soviets hid their failures.

            "Yes, they DID, but we know about them now, and the ratio of casualties is about 3:1 (one Russian died for every three Americans), which considering that USSR/Russia actually had more manned launches, did more things first and spent longer in space is actually a pretty good record."

            Total casualties is not a good metric. Using this metric, seven Soviet flights each manned by one cosmonaut who was killed during reentry or landing for a total of seven fatalities, would be equivalent to seven Space Shuttle launches having six uneventful flights plus one fatal incident with seven dead. And that is not a good way of looking at it. One would want the rate of launches with fatalities (irrespective of the number of fatalities in any given launch), although there are other ways of looking at the matter, depending on what one was interested in. Then of course the matter could be examined as fatal incidents per launch for specific classes of vehicles, too. Or changes in the incident rate per class of vehicle over time - well there are many conceivable ways of working with the numbers to develop a metric. But at any rate, simply comparing total fatalities is not an overly meaningful metric.

            Also, it is important to know what accidents you are including. Obviously the Challenger and Columbia Disasters would be included in your number, but what about Bondarenko? That did not occur during actual space flight. The same would be true of the Apollo 1 fire. Or the Nedelin Catastrophe, with at least 125 people dead?

            For actual space flight, I see either

            1) 14 dead on two space shuttles and 4 dead on two Soviet craft, OR

            2) two American incidents with fatalities as opposed to 2 Soviet incidents with fatalities - and the American fatalities were in a class of vehicles for which the Soviets never had an operational equivalent.

            ">>the Apollo 1 fire had an exact counterpart in a Soviet space program accident<<

            "Errrrrmm... exact? one was a hyperbaric chamber/living quarters (Rus) and one was on the launchpad of an actual spacecraft (USA), one was attributed to poor organisation when the incident occurred (Rus) and the other was attributed to a large number of design and construction flaws (USA), one was in a variety of pressure and O2 mix levels (Rus), not less than 50% during the incident, the other was a high pressure pure oxygen environment (USA)."

            Well, if you want to quibble with the word "exact" you can do so, but in both incidents a necessary condition for the fatalities was a mixture unnecessarily rich in oxygen, the result of which in both cases that the amount of oxygen was lowered to less potentially catastrophic levels. *I* consider the incidents to be be exact counterparts for that reason. If you want to use a different adjective to replace "exact", you may do so.

            ">>the Soviet accident would have served as a lesson to the NASA and a less oxygen-rich mixture would have been used<<

            "Is this a back-handed way of both criticising the Soviets for their accident and blaming them for Apollo 1? Seriously? do you think that the Apollo1 scientists, after the accident suddenly went "I've just realised, things burn really well in 100% O2 atmospheres, well that was a bit of a surprise."

            Yes, I am criticizing the Soviets for the Bondarenko accident because engineers are supposed to foresee these kinds of possibilities, and these engineers were good ones. And that's what engineers do.

            However, I also criticize the American engineers for the Apollo 1 fire, because they too were engineers, and very good ones too, and they too are supposed to foresee potentially lethal situations. It's their job to foresee and provide against accidents. Because that is what engineers do, irrespective of being Soviet, or American.

            Why you seem to need to ridicule the American engineers for not realizing that "things burn really well in an 100% oxygen atmosphere" but not the Soviet engineers for not realizing that "things burn really well in an [50%] oxygen atmosphere" is not clear. *I* don't consider the difference to be terribly meaningful, although you, for whatever reasons, do.

            And yes, I *do* give the Soviets partial responsibility for the Apollo 1 fire. Both the Soviets and Americans engineers made what seems, after the fact, to be a fairly elementary error. And after each accident, each respective group of engineers - after official investigations, no doubt - changed their practices. That's what engineers also do, right? Do you think that it is in somewhat far-fetched to think that, if the American engineers had known that accident that lead to Bondarenko's death was predicated on a too oxygen rich mixture, that the American would not have taken a lesson from it? That, having learned that Bondarenko died in a fire in a 50% oxygen atmosphere, that maybe, just maybe, a 100% oxygen atmosphere was even *more* dangerous?

            That researchers, engineers, doctors, etc etc are capable of learning from the experience of others is the very reason why there are professional conventions and conferences, scholarly journals, investigative committees, and so forth: people can learn from other people's experience.

            If you don't think that the American engineers would have learned something from the Bondarenko accident, had they known about it, I would like to know why.

            1. No, I will not fix your computer
              Stop

              Re: @Greg J Preece: Reliability: Soviet-era space vehicles?

              >>Total casualties is not a good metric.

              Because it doesn't fit your purpose? you have to remember that Russia successfully has the first 1 man space mission, first 2 man, first 3 man (and first woman of course), doing something first is always going to be more risky, despite this, the USSR/Russia have a "good" record. By all means cut the statistics however you want to suit your purpose, include or exclude whatever you want to meet your needs, I offered a very simplistic metric.

              This reminds me of the claim that Americans (the Wright brothers) "invented the aeroplane", despite the fact that people flew before and after, but Americans insist that the exact combination of powered flight, unassisted takeoff, specific controls that the Wright brothers had is the requirement for "first flight", the fact that the undercarrage detached (was left behind) is considered "irrelevant" - yes set the goalposts to match where you happen kick the ball and then shout "goal", well done!

              >>And yes, I *do* give the Soviets partial responsibility for the Apollo 1 fire.

              You're an idiot then.

              What you fail to realise is that the Russian fire was in a habitat, the fire was caused by throwing alcohol soaked cotton wool on to a (hot) hotplate, totally different environment (can't imagine what use a hotplate woul dbe in a zero gravity environment), the only thing in common (perhaps) would be how difficult it is to control a fire in such an environment, whereas the US failings were multiple systems. Besides, the US shared no information with the Russians, and explicitly had programs to keep it that way, the whole (shameful) Paperclip program was put in place to specifically deny the Russians rocket technology, why on earth would Russia turn over everything they have learned in their own development? hell! it would tantamount to espionage to divulge findings.

              >>If you don't think that the American engineers would have learned something from the Bondarenko accident, had they known about it, I would like to know why.

              They obviously would have learned something, and perhaps if Russia also shared their studies on plasticising effects on rubber under extereme cold then the US wouldn't have lost a space shuttle, but if anyone is to blame it's America, they called the moon a "space race", despite being beaten to every other goal, they needed to "beat those darn Ruskies", any working togther has been constantly undermined, either by the US government demanding full disclosure (but not offering it), or by US politicians voting it down as it's a threat to US jobs.

              In summary, the Russian space program has been more successful and safer than the US one, the US failings are down to the US.

        2. eulampios

          reliability and reality

          Can you please remind all of us, whose vehicles now carry people to ISS and back?

          1. Veldan
            Trollface

            Re: reliability and reality

            @eulampios,

            Elon musk's?

      2. graeme_from_IT
        Big Brother

        Re: Soviet-era space vehicles?

        I seem to remember that the Soviets weren't that forthcoming about any explosions/aborted missions/deaths in their space program ( "Moon Mission? We weren't going to land a man on the moon") - So maybe its just the one's we actually heard about were reliable - all the other ones simply didn't "happen"

  5. Irongut

    Do they have any Nazi space zepplins?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      No, the space spitfires got them all

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Iron Sky and Dr Who

        Dr Who fan replies to Iron Sky fan, must say the space spitfires was one of the most ludicrous Dr Who episodes I've ever seen and that's saying a lot!!

  6. Rob
    Go

    Someone is clearly sleepwalking through life

    With everything that is currently happening with the economy, the strap line being "bad investments don't work", at what point has some idiot thought, "this sounds like a sound business plan, I shall invest in it!".

    I'm not going to address the fact that they think they convince a rich numpty to give up a year of their life to go on a space trip where they have to drive the vehicle themselves.

    1. IglooDude

      Re: Someone is clearly sleepwalking through life

      To be fair, it's not like they're expecting the rich numpty to get out and push it all the way to the moon.

      Come to think of it, maybe they are - it would fit right in with the rest of the 'project planning'.

    2. Turtle

      What "tourist" might mean: Re: Someone is clearly sleepwalking through life

      "I'm not going to address the fact that they think they convince a rich numpty to give up a year of their life to go on a space trip where they have to drive the vehicle themselves."

      I would think that the term "tourist" in the case could be understood to include an academic or corporate researcher who is sent by his institution to undergo the training and make the flight, for the purpose of doing whatever research is felt necessary to do. It could be understood to mean a government scientist from a country that does not have its own space program, too.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: What "tourist" might mean: Someone is clearly sleepwalking through life

        If the humans aren't landing on the moon, I can't see an institution sending a scientist- what can he/she do that a robot can't?

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Someone is clearly sleepwalking through life

      I don't know they could be onto something. It can't be any worse than buying Facebook shares.

  7. RISC OS

    Great idea...

    "We want to have the same kind of tradition that Britain had in the 16th and 17th centuries when its explorers went to the ends of the Earth..."

    Yeah, and lets hope that like so many of these early explorers, that the people going to the moon don't come back. The kind of people that could afford a trip to the moon are the kind of people the world could do without.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Great idea...

      I would have thought he meant more 18th and 19th centuries

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Barrows-Boys-Fergus-Fleming/dp/1862075026

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Killing-Dragons-The-Conquest-Alps/dp/1862074534/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_4

    2. Andy 73

      Re: Great idea...

      I probably just missed the 'hate the rich' memo, but really? People who've managed to earn and retain millions are evil nasty people who deserve to die?

    3. MacroRodent Silver badge
      Boffin

      It is lethal anyway

      "The kind of people that could afford a trip to the moon are the kind of people the world could do without."

      Given the very slow journey described in the article, anyone foolish enough to embark will probably be killed by radiation, either en route or soon afterwards, unless the spacecraft are seriously upgraded with shielding. I seem to recall from a Scientific American article a calculation that to have a change of surviving a solar flare in space (except in low Earth orbit, where the magnetosphere protects you), you needs something like a 2 meter layer of water or other hydrogen-rich material as a shield.

      It is not needed all the time. Many hard-Sci-Fi stories envision ships as having a refuge shielded this way, and assume the crew gets enough warning about solar events (and use problems with this as plot devices). But retrofitting even a small shelter to Soviet capsules would clearly be economically infeasible.

      I think this issue is enough to sink the idea of using "Almaz" for moon trips. Even the stupider rich dudes will have better educated advisers who will point out that it will be essentially a one-way trip...

  8. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Can I please book a seat for Julian Assange? Guess on the moon he'll be safe from extradition...

    1. Fibbles
      Black Helicopters

      Don't you know the true purpose of the X37-B?

      Rendition from low earth orbit.

    2. Turtle

      Re: "Can I please book a seat for Julian Assange?"

      "Can I please book a seat for Julian Assange?"

      And a seat for a pliant and not overly-fastidious woman to go along with....

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: "Can I please book a seat for Julian Assange?"

        @Turte: Ann Widdecombe springs to mind...

  9. hammarbtyp Silver badge
    Happy

    Why go to the moon, when you can go to mars?

    What a coincidence, I only recently received this email from Nigeria...

    Dear Sir

    I am happy to offer you an exclusive return trips to Mars. We have recently obtained a fleet of secret North Korean spacecraft fitted with a FTL drive personally designed by the dear leader himself.

    A deposit of $100 million will guarantee a place on the priority short list for the first launch in 2030

    Please send the money to P.O Box Lagos 124567

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Why go to the moon, when you can go to mars?

      That's got to be for real. The grammar and spelling is too good for it to be a scam!

    2. stucs201

      Re: Why go to the moon, when you can go to mars?

      Or there's this option for Mars:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18506033

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Why go to the moon, when you can go to mars?

      [hammarbtyp]: Amazing. I got one from an old friend who was actually already *on* Mars.

      It seems that right after he got there he was mugged and had all his money stolen, stranding him and his family in the foothills of Mons Olympus, "tears streaming down his cheeks". He begged me for a first-class return airfare for each of his family, which I would have sent but, you know, no postal service to Mars yet.

      Small world, eh?

  10. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Let's see.

    Flying to the moon in an antique designed as an orbital station, with some engines cobbled onto it.

    What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

    I take it that they want all the cash for your ticket up front.......?

    I can't help thinking that their target market, of incredibly gullible people who have somehow managed to accumulate 150 million quid, is a rather small one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gullible and rich?

      I heard there are these creatures that run around on a green rectangle chasing a pig's bladder, what was it they were called, something like "footballists"?

  11. Simon Harris Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Space Cowboys

    Damn - it wasn't until I read EA's press release that I realised the Almaz spy platforms they were going to use weren't actually the old ones in orbit!

    I thought they were going to send up Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland and co. to refit them, and wondered what surprises would be in-store when they got there!

  12. ducatis'r us
    FAIL

    Levitation?

    From the Almaz website 'EA owns four RRV (Reusable Reentry Vehicle) capsules and two large Salyut-Class Spacecraft. The reusable reentry capsules can carry three passengers to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).' So no actual rockets then!!

  13. Mostly_Harmless Silver badge

    slightly OT

    I'm intrigued by the fact that the craft had a working gun, which was test fired. In a low-/no-gravity environment, wouldn't Newton's 3rd Law have the craft flying backwards when the weapon fired?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: slightly OT

      Not a gun - it's for doing handbrake turns

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: flying backwards

      Depends where you point the cannon. Gravity doesn't have any effect on the reaction force.

      1. Heironymous Coward
        Boffin

        Re: flying backwards

        If you shoot it roughly* perpendicular to where the spacecraft's movement vector, it should not affect the orbital velocity (although it will change the vector direction slightly, depending on the mass / velocity of the shell and the spacecraft). Like this:

        Pre -shot

        movement in this direction

        |

        O---> shot

        Post-shot:

        \ movement in this direction

        O

        *roughly - using conservation of mometum, you can calculate an angle (slightly less than 90 deg) that will result in the same orbital velocity

        Or, of course, have two guns on the thing and shoot both at once in opposite directions...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ... have two guns on the thing and shoot both at once in opposite directions...

          Just so long as I can be sure of hitting a Virgin spaceship - eat Nudelman, Mr Branson!

  14. NedSeagoon

    Ryan Space

    Would you have to pay extra for food on the trip?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Ryan Space

      Just wait til they find they have to pay for the toilets!

  15. ravenviz
    Headmaster

    Flight?

    Never understood why the call it space 'flight'. In my mind you don't 'fly' anywhere, 'to fly' is a verb, something you do.

    In space you're at the mercy of trajectory so for most of the time you're not doing anything at all, just waiting ages for things to get nearer so you can press a button that fires a rocket for a short period of time so you can then start waiting again.

    Maybe they should call it spacewait?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Flight?

      It not all glamour, you're right. When first in orbit, you are likely to find yourself with your trousers around your ankles whilst vomitting, being injected with anti-nausea drugs in the buttocks. Nice.

      In space you are moving, your trajectory influenced by gravitational forces - just like an object in ballistic motion. By your argument, birds, planes and wasps fly, trebuchet-launched pianos don't.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Flight?

        So what? In space no one can smell your vomit.

  16. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Isle of Man

    As far as I know, the most famous explorer in history to have originated in the Isle of Man was Fletcher Christian.

    So make sure you take a lifeboat on the trip.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I had the money I think I'd rather wait for bigalow to do their thing, I would feel much safer in one of their inflatables than an ancient russian station...

  18. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Mad as a box of frogs...

    Logistics/Reliability Engineering - ever heard of it? Without careful engineering analysis of the old kit (and rework of the time-expired subsystems), these would be suicide missions.

  19. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Down

    Waddya mean, they've removed the gun turrets?

    Bah. I guess I'll be hanging onto my $150 mil, then.

    When I heard these cranks were proposing circumlunar tourist flights aboard an old retrofitted Almaz station, my first thought was how cool it'd be to climb into the gunner's seat and squeeze off a few bursts.

    PULL! BWADADADADADADA DOWWWW!!

  20. jubtastic1
    Pirate

    Seeing as its a given that this is a one way trip

    I'd pocket the money, strap the punter into a simulator for a week before setting it ablaze, well, that's what I'd do if I was the sort of scam artist selling trips to the moon in 40 year old space junk anyway.

    1. Local Group
      Happy

      40 year old space junk...

      or a fully restored, previously owned, classic space vehicle.

  21. Beachrider

    Russian LEO space stations?

    The Salyuts were only shielded for LEO orbits (beneath the protection of the Van Allen belts). The changes needed for lunar trajectories (particularly ones of several weeks) brings a LOT of new-work to these early80s technology rafts.

    Seems like the rich would have better things to do with their money/time. They certainly could have quite a bit of both available, though...

  22. mraak
    Black Helicopters

    Angry Birds Space

    Coincidence, or did I just spot some weird looking vehicles in Angry Birds Space?

  23. Antoine Dubuc
    FAIL

    16th Century, eh?

    Yeah, those were great. 3/4 of the crew died in horrible conditions. The rest usually died once they arrived or soon after coming back. Most ships simply vanished never to be heard of again. Yeah, those were the days of the 16th century explorers.

    There's no need for a steely eyed astronaut capable of making split second decision.

    That's the one that really made me laugh. Yeah, we don't even have a lawnmower that can do the job properly itself and you're telling the gullible that your 40 years old junk ductaped with more stuff, unproperly guarded against solar flares, will make the gullible have a great time? Really? With zero-G where the blood is rushing through your head ?

    There are so many reasons why Darwin will cull the idiots who pay dearly for this!

  24. The Mighty Spang

    guns in orbit

    firing the direction you are going = retrograde force on orbital speed = reduction in orbital height

    firing out the back is the reverse. go higher.

    firing at the earth pushes up into high orbit, but with an unstainable orbital speed, will sink again, probably oscillate up and down. until an equilibruim is reaches

    sideways gun.. well knocks you sideways.

    against weight of the capsule though, probably very minimal change.

    1. Mike Flugennock
      Boffin

      Re: guns in orbit

      Actually, the designers of the Almaz station had well considered zero-g/vacuum conditions in the selection of a Nudelman gun for Almaz and the orbital combat variant of the Soyuz:

      ...Above the descent module was a recoilless gun developed by the well known Soviet designer A E Nudelman. It was designed for shooting in a vacuum and defending the military research spacecraft from enemy satellite inspector and interceptor satellites. The gun was aimed by maneuvering the entire spacecraft. A special gunsight was installed in the descent module for aiming the gun. A difficult technical problem for the designers was how to fire the gun without putting the Zvezda into uncontrollable somersaults. To solve the problem a special dynamic stand was constructed - a platform on air bearings. In it was installed a dummy 7K-VI with an optical gunsight. Tests with the stand proved that the cosmonaut could aim the spacecraft with a minimum expenditure of fuel, keep the spacecraft pointed at the desired target, and that the firing itself would not put the spacecraft into any gyrations that the cosmonaut could not cope with using manual control...

  25. saundby

    1 year training = liability reduction

    The participants are trained for a year so that when the trial comes Excalibur/Almaz can claim the deceased were capable of "informed consent".

    Let's strangle space tourism in its cradle, why don't we?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    landings?

    They don't seem to mention landing at all. From what I recall, the russians did develop kit for this too, but the article doesn't mention it. It seems therefore that the lunar trip would involve being on a spacestation that orbits ever higher until it reaches the moon.

    If I was paying to go to the Maldives first class, I'd be pretty miffed if the deal was that I could fly there but only look out the window of the plane.

  27. TheOtherHobbes

    Well

    This sounds like a plan to rid the world of stupid very rich people.

    What's not to like?

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Well

      Apparently the first Almaz to leave will be named the 'B Ark'.

      The 'A Ark' and 'C Ark' are due to 'follow' on afterwards.

  28. SteveTM
    Terminator

    SCARY - 1970s Kit going into space - Expensive Suicide?!

    If the trip was free, count me out.

    Looks like they are taking a leaf out of British Rail with crappy old transport methods and high ticket prices.

    Expect the arrival to be late due to a signal failure.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    Is this a joke?

    Telegraph reports that "The company has acquired a fleet of former Soviet shuttles"

    Er I call BS since there were a very, very small number of Buran shuttles and they have ALL been destroyed apart from a model which sits in Gorky Park and is going nowhere soon. I call BS on this entire article, despite the fact that its a British company (and therefore hasn't got any money) the article makes no sense for a start-up company to suddenly "acquire" a bunch of old soviet hardware.

    You should have printed this one back in April.

  30. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    Bunch of loonies.

    'Nuff said.

  31. Arachnoid
    Devil

    Maybe we should set up a fund and compile a lst of Euro-ticians to send up on the first flight

  32. annodomini2
    FAIL

    Lunar orbit only... no landing.

    £150m for 6months to get to Lunar orbit.

    Ok, you get 6months in space, but I'd love to see these guys business model.

    High probability you'd get stuck there.

  33. Arachnoid
    Thumb Up

    Oh and the Outer Space Treaty does not prohibit the fitting of conventional weapons so the cannons can stay

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty

  34. VulcanV5
    Thumb Up

    Excalibur Almaz

    Excalibur Almaz's advertising tag line is "Space Business Solutions." Well, yes: the $billions required to finance those 'solutions' do indeed confirm that Space Business Problems are enormous.

    By contrast, my own company, Camelot Earth Inc, delivers much more cost-effective solutions. Our nifty advertising tagline:

    'Earth: Lots More People Here To Buy Your Stuff Than There Are In Outer Space'

    sums up our core philosophy and is derived from many years of detailed research. To date, we estimate a $198.13285927114 trillion saving for our clients, who might otherwise have over-estimated demand for washing machines and motor cars on Triton, but under-estimated the high costs of servicing that market.

    * Excalibur Almaz's CEO is the literary executor of Robert E. Heinlein. There may be a clue there.

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