Jan 032013

When debating what space tour you will spend your millions on, don’t forget the trip to the Moon offered by Excalibur Almaz. Conveniently located on the Isle of Man, EA apparently already owns four spacecraft (Soviet-era Almaz  capsules, to be married to all-new service modules) and two Salyut space station modules.

Beyond your standard hum-drum one-week trip to a low Earth orbit space station, EA is also touting a mission around the moon (though not yet do to a landing on it). According to the Bbc, EA suggests that such a trip would cost £100,000,000.

 Posted by at 4:00 pm
  • se jones

    Seems to me that the heat-shield, designed for a LEO commie spy platform, might not be up to a H.E. from the moon. Just sayin.
    ‘Course with taxes and everything, I guess I’ll be staying in LEO anyway for a while.

    • Anonymous

      Add a few inches of oak. It’ll be fine.

  • Anonymous

    Hmm, do those spare Almaz stations (the descent capsule is the old TKS) still have their 23mm cannons mounted?

    • publiusr

      The descent capsule is the VA, the Almaz without the VA is TKS–or rather, the DOS core block like Salyut–an Almaz with Soyuz docking collars instead of the VA position.

      TKS ferry/FGB tugs were also to have VAs.

      The Almaz/Salyut DOS core block became Mir, and its replacement was Zvezda on ISS

      The TKS/FGBs were plugged into those. Kvant, Spekter Piroda. On ISS it is Zarya.

      All about 20 tons–the limit of Proton. No different from Delta IV, Ariane 5 Long March 5, etc.

      An FGB tug was placed under the Polyus-Energiya payload. Energiya worked fine. The tug was to turn 180 degress and push the payload the reast of the way. It did a 360 and shoved it back down. Either an accident or on Gorby’s order.

      • publiusr

        Sorry to keep harping about this, but the Stabilo was to use the tractor rocket concept. The Soviet VA Capsule had retros and the escape tower also as a long stem enhancing stability.

        So would just the VA capsule be sent on the circumlunar thump. The hatch at the bottom of the heatshield makes me wonder if it might have been a good LK replacement.

        A Soviet pilot flies a command service module full of fuel and a docking collar–but no heat shield. The Lander is just the VA. All propulsion is over your head for stability. You egress through the bottom hatch leaving very simple legs atop a tiny circular descent stage. (Yes the heat shield would be weighty) Then you ascend, have the fuel fat service module dock with the modified VA, and the Command service module is discarded after the burn. The VA descends to Earth.

        Maybe not the best way, but you get to say the vehicle actually went to the Moon itself.

  • se jones

    Well then hell, slap in some oak, pull a NTR out of storage and it’s off-to-the-moon, guns ablazen!
    What a marketing campaign, Don Draper would approve. I like it.

  • publiusr

    Now this was Soviet answer to MOL. One Proton could launch this–but this is a **LEO** bird only.

    Now Proton launched a circumlunar mission, but that was only a rump Soyuz capsule (no spherical living compartment). These were the Zonds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_7K-L1


    The Almaz uses a slightly different capsule called the VA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VA_spacecraft

    This were wrongly called a Merkur (Dwayne Day’s space review article)

    Two of these VA craft were stacked one atop the other as the Cosmos 881/882 flights. Ron Miller thought these to be dual spaceplanes in his drawings for THE DREAM MACHINES–or perhaps those were by Charles Vick…

  • Not to sound critical, but I would like to offer corrections to some misconceptions.

    The components of the Almaz Orbital Complex consisted of :

    11F71 – The Almaz Orbital Piloted Station (OPS) with a single Docking Port
    11F71B – The Almaz OPS with VA Capsule
    11F72 – TKS (FGB with VA Capsule)
    11F73 – Almaz OPS with TKS Attached
    11F74 – The VA Capsule
    11F75 – The Zvezda OPS (Almaz OPS with Two Docking Ports)
    11F76 – The KSI Film Capsule
    11F77 – The FGB

    The Almaz Capsule itself was derived from the Crew Capsule of the LK-1 (a circumlunar spacecraft consisting of a Crew Capsule connected to a Service Module) launched by a UR-500 Proton Carrier Rocket, and the Crew Capsule of an LK-700 (A very large Lunar Lander consisting of a Crew Capsule with Service Module (later with a hatch in the heatshield leading to a Crew Work Module) launched by a UR-700, a large derivative of the Proton which in later configuration would dwarf the American Saturn V.

    If a fully equipped Almaz station was was ever built (A core station launched with a Crewed Capsule, Single Docking Port, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and an Agat Reconnaissance Camera) it would be launched by a UR-530 (a derivative of the UR-500, but with a first stage consisting of six separate UR-100 derived rockets strapped together with no center fuel tank).

    As a Military Reconnaissance Station, the Almaz would ideally be launched in a Low Earth Orbit, but with a TKS was capable of Geostationary or Circumlunar Orbit.

    Excalibur Almaz purchased four Almaz VA in various states of completeness, and two Almaz stations – one a base hull, and the other in a near complete Man-Tended Orbital Station.configuration.