Isle of man to return man to the moon

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London: After the US, Russia, China and India, the tiny island territory of the Isle of Man, has been named the fifth most likely "country" to return man to the moon for the first time since 1972, a media report said.

Excalibur Almaz, a US-Russian company on the island, has bought two former Soviet space stations which were built for a secret reconnaissance programme but never used.

The company, which has its headquarters on the Isle of Man, wants to refurbish the units and send them into orbit from Russia; it`s hoping to raise millions of dollars in funds before sending their first tourist flights into space in 2013, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Economic Development Minister Allan Bell said that the space industry gives the island a "unique selling point" when they are trying to attract investment and diversify the economy.

Bell told the `Financial Times`: "It (Space) gives us a unique selling point. I can say we have financial services and manufacturing and they say `OK` that`s nice but so have other jurisdictions. Then I say the bookies have us fifth most likely to get back to the moon."

Odyssey Moon, another company based on the island, is also attempting to send a vehicle to the moon and send back pictures to win a 30 million pounds prize.

Major satellite operators SES, Inmarsat, Avanti and Telesat are all based on the island. Between 2006 and 2010, the space industry brought in 33 million pounds for the Isle of Man economy And also provided work for bankers and lawyers, PricewaterhouseCoopers found.

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