Circumlunar Soyuz-Block DM Tourism Spacecraft
Credit: © Mark Wade
AKA: Soyuz Circumlunar. Status: Study 2005. Gross mass: 25,000 kg (55,000 lb).
The customer would be shot around the moon as early as 2008 at a price of $100 million. Soyuz had already been proven for this role under the L1 program in the 1960's.
In August 2005 Energia, in collaboration with Space Adventures / Deep Space Expeditions announced the potential offering of flights around the moon to millionaires able to afford the $ 100 million price tag. Dusting off the work of the 1960's that resulted in the Soyuz being qualified for manned circumlunar flight, the new version proposed two mission profiles:
The baseline Direct Staged Mission would run as follows:
For the L1 circumlunar program of the 1960's, Korolev sold the idea based on a single Proton booster launch. This would orbit a Block D upper stage with an L1 manned spacecraft (a stripped Soyuz). After a time in parking orbit, the Block D would fire to send the L1 around the moon. Later his design bureau developed the podsadka alternative. First the Proton would boost an unmanned Block D and L1 into low earth orbit. Then an orbital version of Soyuz would be launched separately on an 11A511U booster and rendezvous and dock with the L1/Block D in orbit. Then the crew for the L1 would transfer form the Soyuz, the Soyuz would undock, the Block D would fire to send the L1 toward the moon. It would have been simpler to follow the 2005 scenario - orbit a Block D with a docking collar, then have the Soyuz launch separately, dock with the Block D, and set off for the moon. Evidently there was no time during the space race to modify the Block D to handle the extra propellants required for such a scenario.
A quick calculation shows that such a mission was right at the edge of the capability of the described spacecraft. A fully-fuelled Block DM, fitted with a docking collar and avionics, would be well beyond the payload capacity of the Zenit two-stage booster for the mission described. The Block DM would have to fire briefly after separation form the Zenit-2 second stage to put itself into parking orbit. The Soyuz itself (presumably with a two-man crew) would have to be lightened by several hundred kilograms from its basic orbital version.
The DSE-Alpha mission was just the first and easiest possibility, a kind of test of the market. Presumably subsequent Lunar Orbit or Lunar Landing flights would be designated DSE-Beta and DSE-Gamma...
Crew Size: 2.
Credit: Manufacturer Image