British company offering 500,000 miles around the Moon in space station

An interior view of a space craft owned by Excalibur Almaz
An interior view of a space craft owned by Excalibur Almaz
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A BRITISH company is offering seats to adventurers willing to go the extra mile on a historic journey to the Moon.

The first 500,000-mile round-trip in a converted Soviet-era space station could take place as early as 2015.

The exterior of the re-entry capsule

The exterior of the re-entry capsule

Art Dula, founder and chief executive of Isle of Man-based Excalibur Almaz, told a space tourism meeting in London: “We’re ready to sell the tickets.”

Mr Dula has acquired two Soviet “Almaz” space stations, designed for orbital spying operations. Thrusters attached to the stations will convert them to long-distance spaceships.

Four re-entry capsules, or re-usable return vehicles (RRVs), will ferry three people at a time to the orbiting space station and return them to Earth.

All the space vehicles – the cost of which is confidential – are housed in hangers on the Isle of Man. One of the RRVs is currently being exhibited outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster, London.

If the bold plan succeeds, a private British space company will carry out the first manned Moon mission since Apollo 17 in 1972.