“Planet Earth Team” Hits the Isle of Man


Isle of Man Today has an interesting story about how one astronaut and two cosmonauts have laid down Cold Era rivalries to work for Excalibur Almaz – a commercial company that is using old Soviet hardware to launch space tourists into orbit.

The space veterans include NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao, a veteran of three Shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission; Colonel Valery Tokarev, a Russian Air Force test pilot and cosmonaut; and Colonel Vladimir Titov, the first man to spend a full year in space.

The space race began as another front in the Cold War but Colonel Titov prefers not to talk of rivalries between the Soviet Union and the USA.

‘We are Planet Earth Team,’ he says.

Excalibur Almaz is not the only company promising private enterprise space flights to private individuals but it does appear to have leapt ahead of its rivals by purchasing, as Dr Chiao puts it ‘heritage hardware’.

Other companies starting from scratch will have to spend years developing and testing spacecraft whereas Excalibur Almaz has four capsules and two space stations that are tried and tested.

Read the full story.