At a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., a company called Golden Spike is scheduled to announce its intention to organize manned commercial expeditions to the moon by 2020, selling seats or cargo space to wealthy individuals, nations, and corporations.
The effort is led by former NASA officials who intend to use commercial rockets such as the Falcon Heavy Lift Vehicle, now in development by SpaceX, the aerospace company started by entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Most likely, the team of ex-NASA hands is hoping to make a publicity splash that will draw additional investors and partners. A trip to the moon, or even a flyby, would be hugely expsensive. In materials prepared for its media launch, the company said the cost of “a two-human lunar surface mission” would be at least $1.4 billion.
Even so, a recent boom in commercial space technology is allowing entrepreneurs to dream bigger than ever. The expected availability of large commercial rockets for hire—the debut launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is scheduled for next year—has spurred growing interest around private exploration, including of the moon, asteroids, and Mars