THE space race between America and the Soviet Union was as much about ideological one-upmanship as extraterrestrial exploration. A new space race to the moon has an even less lofty goal: sightseeing. Two space-tourism companies are planning rival lunar missions that could see private individuals paying to fly to Earths nearest celestial neighbour.美国和苏联的空间竞争是关于外星探寻上谁高人一等的问题。一个新的到月球的竞争有一个更为崇高的目标:旅游观光。两个空间旅游公司计划在月球项目上竞争以使私人个体可以掏钱飞上地球最近的天体一家人。On June 19th Excalibur Almaz, a space company based on the Isle of Man, a British dependency in the Irish Sea, became the second company-after Space Adventures, an American space-tourism firm-to offer tickets for a commercial moonshot. Both firms are charging $150m a seat, a price that includes months of ground-based training. Neither is offering a descent to the moons surface-just a lunar fly-by.一个英国反对的坐落于英国曼岛的神剑在六月19号沦为第为时隔美国空间旅游公司空间探险公司之后第二家空间旅行公司为登月的商业用途获取票。



Whereas the Americans won the first space race, the Russians are favourites for the rematch. Both Excalibur Almaz and Space Adventures are using Russian-made rockets and spacecraft. Space Adventures plans to re-engineer the veteran Soyuz craft that it has used to shuttle seven space tourists up to the International Space Station (ISS). Excalibur Almaz intends to refit two Almaz space stations that were originally made for the Soviet armed forces.鉴于美国夺得了第一次空间竞赛,俄罗斯人热衷新的开赛。神剑和太空探险两家公司都用于俄罗斯生产的火箭和飞船。空间探险公司计划新的设计自身的联盟号宇宙飞船,该飞船曾多次把7位旅客送来入国际航空站。神剑公司偏向于用于新的翻修的2号钻石空间站,该站由以前的苏联军队修建。

The space-tourism business is famously long on hype but rather short, so far, on results. And both firms face big engineering challenges, to put it mildly. The easier task probably falls to Space Adventures, whose well-tested Soyuzcapsules-which have been flying, in one form or another, since the 1960s-require a beefier communications system, larger portholes (everyone wants a window seat, after all) and a better heat shield for re-entry. A separate booster rocket will be necessary to break the craft out of Earth orbit.到目前为止,空间旅游早已大力宣传了很长时间,但是实质上刚刚开始。两个公司都面对着极大的工程挑战,使他们心碎。比较简单的任务有可能迫降在空间探险公司身上,其调试较好的联盟号飞船自从20世纪60年代以来早已以一种形式或另一种形式盘旋——意味着必须安装强劲的制动器装置,大的舷窗(却是每个人都想要躺在离窗户将近的地方)另外为新的转入安装好的隔热层。


助推火箭分离器必须有强劲的发动机使航天器瓦解地球轨道。Excalibur Almazs bulky space stations will need a lot more work to convert into lunar spacecraft. The first step will be to attach engines. The company plans to use ion thrusters, a high-tech propulsion system in which propellant is ejected using an electric field. Such motors are extremely efficient, and can be powered from a stations solar panels. But they generate little thrust, meaning that Excalibur Almazs mission will take at least six months, compared with just six days for Space Adventures chemical-powered craft. In fact, the low-energy trajectory planned by Excalibur Almaz will take its crew members farther from the Earth than any other humans have been.神剑的可观空间站必须更好的工作使其沦为旅月航天器。第一步将必须加装引擎。



事实上,神剑计划的较低能量轨道将能把它的工作人员送往离地球比以前所有人都近的地方。A journey that long would be risky. One danger is from unpredictable and potentially deadly solar flares, giant releases of stellar energy that would bombard the craft with radiation and fry its occupants. To protect its passengers, the company plans to build an internal storm shelter that uses the spacecrafts water supplies to absorb radiation.长距离的旅行将很危险性。危险性之一来自不能预计和有可能的可怕的太阳耀斑,恒星能量的极大获释将用射线摧毁飞船并且血迹乘客。

为了维护乘客,该公司计划创建内部风暴掩体用飞船的供水系统来吸取射线。Neither firm will start refitting its spacecraft, a process expected to take around three years, until it has sold all the seats on its maiden flights (two for Space Adventures, three for Excalibur Almaz). The companies are marketing their lunar missions to the same high-tech entrepreneurs and ultra-rich thrill-seekers who have snapped up tourist visits to the ISS and suborbital joyrides-long planned, but yet to fly-with firms such as Virgin Galactic.这一计划预计必须三年的时间,两个公司都将不新的维修飞船告诉其变卖所有的处女飞行中的座位(两个太空研究者,三个旅行者),两公司想要类似于的高科技公司和富裕刺激性的富人们宣传市场,这些人把计划很长时间但是没实行的去国际空间站和轨道兜风的旅游票一抢而空比如Virgin Galactic公司。

Space Adventures already claims to have sold one ticket. That has led Excalibur Almaz to sweeten its deal by offering equity in the company to its first paying passengers. But filling seats may prove tricky. Not only is the asking price more than seven times the $20m cost of a jaunt to the ISS, it also requires months of demanding physical and psychological training. And even if the engineering can be perfected, it remains to be seen how many daredevil billionaires will be willing to spend months cooped up in a metal tube eating freeze-dried food.空间探寻公司早已声明售出一张票。这促成神剑公司发售为首位缴付游客获取装备的优惠政策。




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