Private Space Missions Multiplying Like Rabbits

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the spate of announcements about private space missions over the past year, it’s easy to lose track of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the flights.

As a public service, Parabolic Arc has collected information about all five of the announced missions.


Video: Space Adventures Circumlunar Tourism Flight Slips Another Year

Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson gives an update on his company’s plans for commercial circum-lunar flights. Actually, the only real updates are that the flight has slipped from late 2015 to early 2017 since their last estimate in May, and that they still haven’t sold the second $150 million ticket they need to make the flight possible (but they’re close).

They also want to launch it in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire as a tribute to the late Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. I guess that works. They won’t make their planned 2015 launch date, and the 30th anniversary of Challenger and 45th anniversary of Soyuz 11 in 2016 don’t really fit thematically, so why not commemorate Apollo 1. And it sounds a lot better than we’ve slipped another 13 or 14 months just in less than a year and we still haven’t sold that other ticket.

Jeff Manber: Hire Capt. Kirk as Space Adventures’ Spokesman

Jeff Manber isn’t very impressed with Space Adventures’ plan to send humans around the moon. He’s skeptical about whether the company has actually sold a $150 million ticket, thinks their promo video has crappy production values, and says they should hire James Tiberius Priceline (William Shatner) as a spokesman. He also questions the wisdom of spending $150 million to be a guinea pig on Russia’s first ever lunar human flight. (A good question, actually.)