Maybe You Cannot Travel to the Moon — But Can You Get Within 100,000 Kilometers Of It?

“Only 24 people have ever left Earth orbit and journeyed close to the Moon. The last people to walk on the Moon were Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, who left the Moon’s surface on December 14, 1972 and returned to Earth in their Apollo spacecraft. Since then no one has been closer to the Moon than low Earth Orbit. We will change that.”

Maybe You Cannot Travel to the Moon — But Can You Get Within 100,000 Kilometers Of It?

That promise comes from Space Adventures, whose team has designed what is called a “circumlunar mission using a unique combination of existing and flight-tested Russian technology.”

You will begin your journey to the far side of the Moon by first launching into space aboard a Soyuz spacecraft. You will dock with the International Space Station where you will live and adapt to life in space for approximately 10 days. A second rocket will launch a Lunar Module comprising of a lunar living module and a propulsion module. Your Soyuz spacecraft will rendezvous with the Lunar Module in low-Earth orbit.

The combination of the Soyuz spacecraft and the Lunar Module will provide ample living space for your approximately six day journey, and the fuel required for you to leave low-Earth orbit. Once all systems have been checked out the engines will fire and you will start your majestic journey.

Cost of the Experience

“The price of the spaceflight depends on the vehicle you choose, the timing and the exact mission profile. Please contact us for further details.”

In other words: if you have to ask, you likely cannot afford it.

Using Frequent Flier Miles For Space Travel

When I first wrote this article yesterday pertaining to how you cannot travel to the Sun but your name can, I mentioned how space is considered the last frontier; and although I would not travel to the sun — the trip itself could get slightly warmer than Florida in the summertime — I would travel to outer space if I had the opportunity as long as I would be able to return to Earth.

I remembered in the back of my mind that the former US Airways once had an opportunity for members of its Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty program to use miles to travel in space. I then remembered this discussion which was posted on FlyerTalk back on Monday, March 11, 2002 — exactly 16 years and one week ago — and the initiative was the result of a partnership between US Airways and Space Adventures which offered a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to go to space through which participants would climb aboard a sub-orbital spacecraft and fly to an altitude of 62 miles or 100 kilometers to experience several minutes of weightlessness and see Earth from space. Upon return to Earth, participants earn their astronaut wings…

…but if you feel like you missed out on that opportunity, fret not: the trip of a sub-orbital space flight would have set your Dividend Miles account back 10,000,000 — that is ten million — miles; and at that time, US Airways reportedly only had two members who could qualify to redeem that many miles for the trip.

Summary

Perhaps the opportunity to redeem frequent flier loyalty program miles for travel into space may be possible once again — but I am not holding my breath…

…but Space Adventures does offer several other experiences which either involve travel in space or a simulation of being in space — if you have enough funds to pay for them…

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *