After the thrilling success of SpaceX, which is currently the best option to ship equipment and supplies in and out of the International Space Station, another company tries to fill in some big shoes: Golden Spike announces plans to offer manned space flights to the surface of the moon by 2020.

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The private US company chose today, the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of the final manned mission to the moon (Apollo 17),  to make the announcement; the company’s founders include former Nasa executive Alan Stern and former Apollo flight director Gerry Griffin, and the staff features many other people who were actively involved in space flight and missions to the Moon.

“Our vision is to create a reliable and affordable, US-based commercial human lunar transportation system that enables the exploration of the moon, by humans from virtually any nation, or any corporation, or any individual wishing to accomplish objectives on the moon,” Mr Griffin said.

Golden Spikes estimates that such a trip would cost approximately $1.4 billion – but Alan Stern believes several countries would be interested in the affair.

“We can make it affordable for mid-sized countries like a Korea for example, or like an Indonesia, or like a South Africa, and we could name a lot more just going around the continents, to be in the business of lunar exploration,” Mr Stern said.

Via Telegraph