Source : Flight Global

$35 Million for Excalibur Almaz Week in Orbit
Armed with a 2007 market study that indicates annual revenues of $1 billion, space tourism company Excalibur Almaz is offering a week in orbit for $35 million from 2013. The company expects to have a test flight in 2013 and then slowly build the frequency of service of its Almaz spacecraft. Two passengers will fly with a pilot-cosmonaut in its reusable capsule and expendable habitable service module. Eventually Excalibur hopes to earn $1 billion a year by launching up to 30 people into orbit at $35 million each. The company is named after the 1970s Soviet Almaz military program that flight-tested the capsule with a reusable hull and heat shield.

EADS Astrium is working on habitable service module concepts for Excalibur, which is also looking for new avionics and a life support system for the capsule. The updated Almaz spacecraft would launch from Russia’s Baikonur spaceport using either a Khrunichev Space Center Proton or Samara Space Center Soyuz FG, which is used for the Energia Soyuz spacecraft. For a 2013 test flight Excalibur will have to select either rocket by late 2010. (9/10)

Excalibur Almaz Releases More Details on Space Tourism Plans
Excalibur Almaz (EA) Vice President Leroy Chiao revealed some interestind details to Flight Global on the company’s plans to use Russian spaceflight hardware and launch services to support commercial human spaceflight. Historically the Almaz spacecraft were launched by Proton and EA is looking at whether to launch its updated Almaz on Proton or Soyuz FG. Either way the launches would be from Baikonur. The mass of the service module required to provide a week long mission would probably determine whether Proton or Soyuz vehicles are used. SpaceX Falcon-9 rockets are also being considered.