SpaceX, the rocket company owned by Elon Musk, announced they plan to send two paying customers to go on a trip around the Moon.
The two people will be in a Dragon capsule, launched into space by a Falcon Heavy rocket. The capsule will do a loop around the Moon — not landing on it — but skimming close to the surface before going back to Earth. It will take a week and the total distance is 300,000 to 400,000 miles.
SpaceX said the two customers have already made a big deposit and are serious about the trip.
Elon Musk said the cost was about the same as a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) — which makes it around $80 million per seat — since that is how much it costs NASA to send their astronaut on a Russian Soyuz mission. SpaceX hopes that this will become a big source of revenue for them.
So, if you have around $80 million, maybe you can go in the future. Who do you think the two people are? Elon said they know each other. We’ll find out later who the two are.
The capsule will be fully automated, so the two customers don’t have to pilot it — but the two will undergo training later this year in case of an emergency. Elon Musk said the two are serious and knows there is “some risk.”
The FAA Federal Aviation Administration will have to license the trip. SpaceX works closely with the NASA.
The timeline for SpaceX — and they plan to send a Dragon capsule with no people on it to the ISS by the end of this year, then six months later SpaceX will do another mission with a NASA crew. Then six months after that — that’s when the trip around the Moon with the two customers will happen. The timeline could easily become delayed — we might see this launch in 2018 or 2019.
It’s exciting, space tourism is getting closer.