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Space Businesses

Excalibur Almaz To Offer Commercial Orbital Flights 76

xp65 alerts to the plans of an international consortium called Excalibur Almaz Limited to open up a new era of private orbital space flight for commercial customers. The group, consisting of Russian, US, and Japanese companies, will use a formerly top-secret Soviet re-entry vehicle called Almaz to carry paying research crews on one-week missions into Earth orbit by 2013. This ambition represents a large step beyond the sub-orbital flight market so far targeted by most other private space companies. "Excalibur has raised 'tens of millions of dollars' to initiate what will become a several hundred million dollar program, [CEO] Dula tells Spaceflight Now. He has spent more than 20 years eying this specific Almaz program... He also says 'the business plan closes' generating profits within a few years. His surveys have found research and science customers for space missions that are not tourist hops, but less demanding than ISS operations."
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Excalibur Almaz To Offer Commercial Orbital Flights

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  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @04:11PM (#29110661) Journal

    Reviving a 30-year-old Russian capsule which lost out to Soyuz sounds risky.

    If it's revamped and passes modern qualification testing, I don't see any reason not to reuse it. Also, unlike the Gemini, the tooling apparently still exists to construct new ones (unless I'm misreading). From what I've read, it seems that the reason the Almaz was ended didn't have anything to do with technical problems with the capsule, but more that the Soviet Union decided that having armed military space stations probably wasn't the best investment:

    http://www.astronautix.com/project/almaz.htm [astronautix.com]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almaz [wikipedia.org]

  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @04:23PM (#29110849)

    More hype and a misleading Slashdot headline, what's new? How many of the X-Prize teams ever got a person more than 100 metres off the ground?

    "Excalibur Almaz To Offer Commercial Orbital Flights" - perhaps more like Excalibur Almaz *hopes* to offer commercial orbital flights. Early days of space exploration and all that but more hype than activity right now. Wake me up when they've done their first test flights with their own technical staff. I wish them and all the other commercial companies the best of luck - I so want it all to be successful and the prices to drop so an average guy like me might get up there one day - but it's mostly hype at the moment.

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