Former NASA Leaders Launch Golden Spike
What Neil Armstrong famously called "One giant leap for mankind" is now being made available to anyone...for a hefty price. A new private venture called The Golden Spike Company is offering to provide a two-person trip to the moon for $1.5 billion. The company has some impressive names behind it, led by its president Alan Stern, a former NASA associate administrator. The chairman of Golden Spike's Board of Directors is Gerry Griffin, former Johnson Space Center Director and Apollo flight director. "The Golden Spike Company was formed to market and prepare ourselves to provide affordable, turn-key human lunar expeditions," Griffin announced at this week's company debut.
Company leaders ideally want to offer these trips to other countries that have never had the capacity or ability to put somebody on the moon. At the debut, Stern said he's looking at countries like South Africa, South Korea, and Japan. However, space expert Keith Cowing from NASA Watch isn't so sure foreign governments will sign up. He tells KTRH, "If you're gonna spend a billion or two billion dollars to do something, why are you gonna send all that money offshore to an American company?" While Cowing is impressed with Golden Spike's leadership, he has serious doubts about the company's business model. "They're doing it sort of backwards," he says. "They're not going to build any of this hardware until they've sold the trips....it's sort of like saying I'm gonna fly across the country, but I don't own the plane yet."
Cowing predicts the company will need to sell several trips up front just to afford getting off the ground. Company leaders seem to think that is doable. Stern says they hope to launch the first trip by the end of this decade, and eventually make 15 to 20 launches in all. Griffin is confident in the business model. "Our vision is to create a reliable and affordable, U.S.-based, commercial human lunar transportation system." One giant leap, as a famous astronaut might say.
Watch the Video of Golden Spike's Debut Announcement