To the moon? Firm hopes to sell $1.5 billion trips

The private Golden Spike Company, formed by former NASA executives, is offering the trip for either research or prestige.

WASHINGTON — A team of former NASA executives is launching a private venture to send people to the moon.

The newly formed business is looking for countries willing to pay $1.5 billion for a two-person trip to the moon, either for research or national prestige.

NASA's last trip to the moon was 40 years ago.

The Golden Spike Company said Wednesday that it's aiming for a first launch before the end of the decade.

The company president is former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern. Its board chairman is Apollo-era flight director Gerry Griffin, who once headed the Johnson Space Center.

Stern says the company will buy existing rockets and capsules, and will only need to develop new spacesuits and a lunar lander.