The Lunar Express is an idea conceived by Constellation
Services International (CSI) of Laguna Woods, California.
CSI is primarily a commercial re-supply company for the International
Space Station (ISS). However, they have a vision that includes
taking average people on a trip around the moon.
Lunar Express View
How is that possible you might ask? CSI has many interesting
thoughts on the subject. The Soyuz is a spacecraft that currently
is used to ferry people and goods from earth to the ISS. Not
many people have seen other uses for this craft other than
continuing its life as a ferry.
If the Soyuz is to be converted to the Lunar Express, it
will need to be outfitted with additional hardware in order
to make its trip around the moon. This would include a logistics
module that would include docking mechanisms on each end,
have a docking radar and a communications system that will
work at lunar distances.
The module of the Lunar Express would also need to carry
provisions for the crew and passengers and an upgraded toilet
system. The current toilets can only handle three people for
two to four days. The moon missions would take about a week
to complete and the current toilets would not hold up under
that length of time.
The new version of the Soyuz has been thought out pretty
carefully, with quite a few ideas with the details, but CSI
has not even begun the development stages, let alone testing
the module to see if it will work the way it is envisioned
CSI is trying to complete this job without utilizing NASA
funds, so they are trying to get private funding to cover
many of the costs that come with engineering an (almost) entirely
new space vehicle.
If CSI succeeds, a person can expect to spend about a week
on the ISS preparing for their weeklong mission to the moon
aboard the Lunar Express. The spacecraft will take a free-return
circumlunar trip. The people on the Lunar Express will be
the first paying passengers to see the Earth rising as they
come around the moon.
CSI is primarily concerned with this venture from a commercial
standpoint. They believe that someone adventurous and wealthy
will purchase a ticket to the ISS and eventually the moon
on the Lunar Express. They also believe that other nations
will be willing to pay to send one of their dignitaries on
a trip around the moon as well.
Potentially, this could be a very lucrative venture for the
company, if they can get the Lunar Express built and tested.
Undoubtedly, there will be high rollers in the world who will
pay whatever it takes to join the ranks of the very few who
have gone to the moon.