SpaceX, the privately owned spaceflight company announced they will send two private citizens on a trip around the moon and back to the Earth by 2018. The company says the two paying passengers, who are yet unnamed, approached them about a possible trip to the moon. SpaceX says the two people have already paid a ‘significant deposit’ for the trip and will begin health and fitness test as well as start initial training in 2017.
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 flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow.
The two passengers will be the only people on board what is expected to be about a weeklong trip around the moon, according to Musk, who spoke with reporters during a phone conference today.
“This would be a long loop around the moon … It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit further out into deep space and then loop back to Earth,” Musk said during the teleconference. – Space.com
Musk says the moon trip will help SpaceX prepare for his ultimate goal of taking people to the planet Mars and establishing a permanent colony there. The Dragon spacecraft which will carrying the two person crew will operate mostly autonomously and not require any other crewmembers so the paying customers will be on their own for the duration of the mission.
Musk declined to comment on the cost of the trip and how much the customers are paying saying it is confidential. The moon trip will use the same launch pad that the Apollo moon rockets used.
Are you ready to go to the moon? Would you risk being the first to make the trip?
Featured image of an artist’s illustration of the Dragon spacecraft by SpaceX