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TransOrbital signs launch contract for commercial lunar mission
Posted: Thu, Nov 28, 2002, 12:28 PM ET (1728 GMT)
TrailBlazer spacecraft illustration (TransOrbital) TransOrbital, a California company developing the first commercial lunar mission, announced this week that it has signed a launch contract with Russian company Kosmotras. The contract, valued at $20 million, covers both the launch of a test payload on a Dnepr rocket — a converted SS-18 ICBM — next month as well as the launch of the TrailBlazer spacecraft next October, also on a Dnepr. TrailBlazer will carry a high-resolution camera to photograph the lunar surface, as well as cargo ranging from business cards to cremated remains. The spacecraft will eventually crash on the lunar surface after completing the imaging part of its mission. Total cost of TrailBlazer is estimated to be $40 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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