BOULDER, Colo. - 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, based in Boulder, 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 in Houston.
Stern says the company will buy existing rockets and capsules, only needing to develop new space suits and a lunar lander.
Max Vozoff, the companies business development director, said he believes national governments will be the most obvious short-term customers.
"People who want to put their flag on the moon," said Vozoff. "Putting people on the moon has always been as much about prestige and national pride as it is about science, although there is a lot of good science to be done."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.