Tourists will go to the moon with SpaceX

Feb 28, 2017, 00:14
Tourists will go to the moon with SpaceX

Elon Musk announced Monday that his private space transportation company SpaceX will send two private citizens to the moon in late 2018.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the mission would take approximately a week. SpaceX says private missions like this one also reduce the cost of government-funded missions over time.

The crew ill launch aboard a Flacon Heavy rocket, scheduled to make its first test flight this summer.

SpaceX's decision to announce a mission with a similar profile to NASA's moon orbit, but at much lower cost, may only be a coincidence, but Musk made clear he was ready and willing to take it on for the U.S. government. The capsule and its passengers will be launched on a so-called "free return" trajectory, sailing out into deep space beyond the moon before looping back for a direct return to Earth.

The two people will undergo health screenings and begin training for the mission later this year, according to SpaceX. NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which provided most of the funding for Dragon 2 development, is a key enabler for this mission. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board.

The company expects to fly an uncrewed Crew Dragon with Falcon 9 to ISS by the end of this year.

Musk says SpaceX is on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in mid-2018.

NASA has contracted SpaceX to carry out roughly four missions with Dragon 2 per year, the majority of which will be taking cargo up.

Musk calls this planned expedition an "important milestone as we work towards our ultimate goal of transporting humans to Mars".

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