Frank Sinatra famously sang “Fly Me To The Moon,” but he likely never thought it would be possible for the Average Joe to actually fly to the moon. How wrong he was.
As The Orlando Sentinel reports, French company ApoteoSurrise Agency on Friday announced that beginning in March 2022, they will begin accepting reservations to fly paying customers into the Moon’s orbit. And because they’re French, they’re advertising it in the context of, what else, love. Specifically, they say it’s the perfect marriage proposal.
“When love and science unite themselves to stage the most amazing and spectacular marriage proposal of these last 13.8 billion years.”
And of course, as WESH-TV (Orlando) reports, Frank Sinatra’s song will play at some point during the journey.
As you may have guessed, flights to the Moon, which are scheduled to take off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, won’t come cheap. As of this writing, the expected fee is a whopping $145 million. What’s more, participants will need to undergo physical and psychological examinations before being cleared to fly. That will be followed by three months of training, according to the company’s website.
“…cardio training sessions, high-G training in a centrifuge, acclimation to microgravity through a series of parabolic flights on board a Boeing 727, acclimation to high accelerations and speed changes on board a fighter jet flying over Mach 2, complete presentation of the spaceship and of the flight schedule, stress management strategies and emergency simulations.”
— Singularity Hub (@singularityhub) July 4, 2018
Once you’ve launched, it’s a three-day trip into lunar orbit. Then, your spacecraft will descend to about 124-186 miles above the lunar surface. Your trip will include a visit to the far side of the Moon, during which you’ll be out of radio contact with the Earth for about half an hour. Then, you’ll begin the three-day trip home.
Don’t get too excited, though. Though space tourism has been talked about for a couple of decades now, with rare exceptions it’s been nothing but talk. As of this writing, only seven “space tourists” have actually made it up there, at a cost of $20-40 million per, and that was when the Russians were taking on space tourists. They’ve stopped doing that now, and indeed, haven’t done so since 2009.
Meanwhile, at least eight companies are developing plans to put paying tourists into space, according to Popular Science. Besides the aforementioned French company, there’s Virgin Galactic, which just resumed testing one of its craft this year after a fatal 2014 crash, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, which hopes to get paying customers up into space as early as this year.