Russian rocket manufacturer offers rides to the moon

A Russian rocket manufacturer is proposing sending tourists on a ride around the moon for US$100 million. A top official of the nation's space agency said Wednesday the project is realistic.

Nikolai Moiseyev, deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, said the agency had just started considering the proposal by the RKK Energia company, but he added that the idea is based on existing technology and doesn't require much additional research.

Energia chief Nikolai Sevastyanov said Wednesday that the trip around the moon would include a weeklong stay aboard the international space station. The project would involve reliable Soyuz booster rockets that have been the mainstay of the Soviet and Russian space program since the 1960s.

"The project is absolutely realistic and we have come close to implementing it," Sevastyanov said to the AP.

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