Published: Wed, March 01, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

SpaceX wants to send 2 tourists around the moon in 2018

SpaceX wants to send 2 tourists around the moon in 2018

SpaceX has has announced that two private citizens have paid "a significant deposit" for a trip around the moon late next year. The moon mission - which does not include a lunar landing - would follow about six months later using a Dragon crew capsule and a Falcon Heavy rocket launched from NASA's former moon pad in Florida.

It's been more than 40 years since humans traveled around the moon and back to Earth, but that could all change as soon as next year.

During the call, Musk said that the proposed lunar tourism project "should be a very exciting mission that hopefully gets the world really excited about sending people into deep space again".

The tourists will ride aboardSpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, atop Falcon Heavy rocket which is scheduled for its first unmanned test flight later this year. "But they're coming into this with their eyes open", said Musk, adding that the pair will receive "extensive" training before the flight. "Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration".

The moon mission vehicle is created to be automated, Musk told reporters, but the passengers will be trained in emergency procedures in case there is a problem. NASA provides funding for those flights through its Commercial Crew Program and they were expected to begin in 2018.

Mr Musk made the announcement on Monday, saying two private individuals approached SpaceX to see if it would be willing to send them on a week-long cruise, which would fly past the surface of the Moon - but not land - and continue outward before gravity turned the spacecraft around and brought it back to Earth.

"NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher", NASA stated, according to PR Newswire.

The journey would take about a week and would be similar to NASA's 1968 Apollo 8 mission, said Reuters. It succeeded last week.

Like this: