Space Adventures of Arlington, Virginia has sealed the deal on an exclusive marketing partnership with the Tokyo-based travel agency, JTB Corporation.
The agreement announced today opens wide the door for the Japanese to buy commercial treks into space and related experiences from Space Adventures.
JTB will market a wide array of programs available from Space Adventures, including the recently announced Deep Space Expeditions (DSE-Alpha) mission to the Moon -- the first in a series of lunar missions being offered. That mission could liftoff as early as 2008, according to a Space Adventures press statement.
The cost of trekking to the Moon, rounding it, and heading back to Earth is priced at a "circum-spectacular" cost of $100 million a seat, in U.S. dollars. Two commercial seats per would be available. More good news: A third seat is occupied by a pilot cosmonaut.
The mission would utilize a Russian-supplied, but beefed up Soyuz spacecraft, a design thoroughly shaken out via piloted and unpiloted testing.
Future DSE missions plan to include lunar-orbit and lunar-surface missions.
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Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as Space.com's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He was received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.