Rob Coppinger of Hyperbola has a couple of good stories about Excalibur Almaz, a company that will use leftover Soviet-era military space station hardware to built a space tourism business:
The company expects to have a test flight in 2013 and then slowly build the frequency of service of its Almaz spacecraft.
Two passengers will fly with a pilot-cosmonaut in its reusable capsule and expendable habitable service module. Eventually Excalibur hopes to earn $1 billion a year by launching up to 30 people into orbit at $35 million each.
The company is named after the 1970s Soviet Almaz military programme that flight-tested the capsule with a reusable hull and heat shield.
EADS Astrium is working on habitable service module concepts for Excalibur, which is also looking for new avionics and aÂ life support system for the capsule.