SpaceX Plans to Fly Tourists to the Moon-but 2018 Is Ambitious

The first manned test flight for Dragon is expected to take place in early 2018.

"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", said SpaceX.

SpaceX said that two unnamed individuals had approached it about making the flight and paid "a significant deposit" for a trip around the moon.

We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure it safely meets the contractual obligations to return the launch of astronauts to USA soil and continue to successfully deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

The mission will launch from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, where the original Apollo missions were based.

In the announcement, the space giants thanked NASA, saying that without NASA's Commercial Crew Program, their mission would be impossible.

Because the moon is tidally locked (meaning the same side always faces Earth), it was not until 1959 that the farside was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft, according to NASA. At five million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle now flying.

Elon Musk, the CEO, definitely has big plans.

The two-person crew will be trained for emergencies, but the Dragon spaceship carrying them will fly on autopilot, loop around the far side of the moon on a "free-return" trajectory, then speed back to Earth.

The spaceship will be tested later this year and the people going on the mission will also have to have health checks and training before they go.

Space X says its Falcon Heavy rocket, shown here in an artist's rendering, will be used in the mission to the moon. If all goes to plan, the pair will become the first people to complete such a trip in over 40 years. This would be the furthest tourists have ever been in space and would be the first time any human has travelled beyond Earth's orbit since 1972. It the only one at this time for the International Space Station. For context, one ticket on the Russian Soyuz rocket costs NASA around $80 million. But the company has never launched its Crew Dragon capsule into space, let alone a human.



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