Elon Musk to send space tourists to the Moon next year
SpaceX boss Elon Musk has announced he will fly two private citizens around the moon "late next year."In a blog post, SpaceX said the unnamed pair has "already paid a significant deposit to do a Moon mission [and] 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."
Other details are vague but we know the space tourists will travel in SpaceX's Dragon 2 capsule and "make use of" the Falcon Heavy rocket. Falcon Heavy is set to make its first test flight in the summer as part of Nasa’s Commercial Crew Program. The first automatic mission will launch the Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) to the International Space Station (ISS) without passengers on board before a follow-up mission with crew in the second quarter of 2018.
The firm said it will conduct health and fitness tests and begin initial training with the duo later this year. Additional information will then be released, once they've passed these tests.Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for Nasa, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the Moon and return to Earth and lift-off will be from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral following the first successful launch from the pad earlier this month.
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On February 19, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launched from the complex in Florida before landing successfully nine minutes later. Moments after landing, it was determined that the Falcon 9 had successfully carried the SpaceX Dragon supply ship into orbit - where it begun its travel to the International Space Station.ADVERTISEMENT
If successful, more space tourists could make the trip as SpaceX said other flight teams have expressed interest and we expect more to follow.Musk had teased the announcement on Twitter on Sunday night simply saying that SpaceX news was imminent. In the tweet announcing the Moon mission he wrote: "Fly me to the moon...ok".