SpaceX Moon Mission Will Fly Two Tourists In 2018

By Donna Bellevue , Mar 01, 2017 12:33 AM EST

SpaceX's new moon mission includes strapping two paying passengers on board a rocket to moon in 2018. Space company founder Elon Musk says he's been planning a private space mission using a SpaceX rocket for two passengers to have a tour around the moon. "I think this will be a very exciting mission," Musk says during a teleconference with journalists.

Musk says SpaceX was approached by "two private individuals" whom he did not identify, only saying that these two are serious about getting a trip to the moon. The first two civilian passengers would ride a private rocket that would launch from the historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. They will catapult into space using the same launch pad used by NASA for Apollo moon missions.

The rocket launch for SpaceX's moon mission is expected late next year on SpaceX's Dragon 2 vehicle on a Falcon Heavy rocket. Asked about the risks the passengers have put themselves in, Musk says that the two passengers are entering the moon tour with their eyes open, aware of the risk. Musk shares information about the flight, saying that it would be on an autonomous spacecraft that needs no specially trained astronauts on board, the USA Today reports.

Musk also stresses that the two paying travelers would undergo "extensive training before going on the mission". He adds that it is a really exciting mission. He hopes that this will get the world really excited about sending people into deep space again, the ABC News reports.

If successful, SpaceX's moon mission will mark a first for the nascent industry of space tourism. Musk wouldn't disclose exactly how much of a deposit the soon to be moon tourists put down, but called it "significant." The company itself including the rockets and instrument are worth billions, but the overall cost of a private space mission remains unknown at this time.

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