11:53 04 December 2012
Virgin tycoon Richard Branson is said to be planning a commercially funded mission, scheduled for 2020, together with up to four billionaire explorers. There are talks that he could be joined by Guy Laliberte, a fellow investor and circus tycoon who flew to the International Space Station in 2009.
A company named Golden Spike is said to be the one behind the lunar trip plan, which was set up by leading aerospace experts including ex-NASA Chief Alan Stern. According to reports, the £75million lunar trip has been secretly planned exclusively for wealthy clients.
On Thursday, it is expected that this plan will be announced in Washington by Golden Spike.
Each investor was said to have forked out a £6.3million initial payment to fund the early stages of the expedition. The group plans to use conventional US rocket technology. On the other hand, Golden Spike has reportedly signed a deal with SpaceX, a private space company for a lunar orbiter and a rocket.
This isn’t Richard Branson’s first extravagant 'trip'. His previous expensive adventures includes ballooning around the world. He is also already booked on the first commercial sub-orbital flight, which will be operated by Virgin Atlantic, his very own space company.
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