Next to a spaceflight to Mars, a journey to the moon would be the trip of a lifetime, but traveling to Earth's natural satellite isn't as simple as it seems.
The Apollo 11 mission, where Neil Armstrong took the giant leap for mankind, reached the lunar orbit and landed at the moon almost three days after it began.
It also took a huge amount of money to make the mission a reality — about $355 million in funding, or the equivalent of more than $1.3 billion in 1994 dollars.
And so, to make manned missions to the moon cheaper, a Russian company has proposed that a way station with "space cabs" may be the solution.
Space Cabs To The Moon
Private rocket company Energia announced on Thursday, May 26 that it is planning to begin the construction of a space cab that would ferry astronauts and interstellar tourists from the International Space Station (ISS) to the moon.
Indeed, the company hopes to use the ISS as a permanent docking station for space cabs dubbed "Ryvok" as the first step to a manned mission to Mars.
It would definitely be cheaper than conventional travel. Yuri Makushenko, a spokesperson for Energia, says the cost of the reusable manned spacecraft is a third lower than the costs of Federation-manned spacecraft.
The company plans to use the heavy-lift vehicle Angara A5 rocket, which will replace the Soyuz rocket, to launch the components of Ryvok into space.
Because the moon taxi will be in orbit, astronauts won't have to wait for the Angara A5 rocket to be approved safe for human transportation.
Ryvok would be used by Russia to transfer not only astronauts, but also cargo, to the lunar surface with the help of an "accelerator block."
Energia says the journey from the ISS to the moon is estimated to take five days. During the return voyage, the space cab will use a giant "umbrella" to decrease the speed before the spacecraft reaches the ISS.
European Space Agency director Thomas Reiter said they hope to work with Russian space agency Roscosmos to build a permanent base on the moon. He said the moon is an excellent destination for further explorations.
Meanwhile, Russia hopes Ryvok will be designed by 2021 and launched by 2023.