Monday, February 27, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX announced that one of the company’s Dragon Spacecraft will fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon in 2018.
The company stated that the passengers have already paid for the trip. The names of the passengers will be announced after successful initial health tests.
2018 trip around the moon by SpaceX
The aircraft is capable of flying seven astronauts to space at once to and from low-earth orbit. SpaceX representatives stated that like any other space missions, the passengers are filled with hopes and dreams of space exploration.
The phone conference with Musk revealed that the trip will be about a week long carrying only two passengers on board. He also stated that the trip will contain a long loop around the moon skimming the surface and going a bit further into deep space and return to Earth. The trip is expected to be about 300,000 to 400,000 miles long.
The mission is scheduled to launch after successful flight with NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as a part of commercial crew. According to Musk, the company is currently planning to make an uncrewed flight of its Dragon Spacecraft within late 2018 which will be required for the approval of human spaceflight.
The spacecraft consists of a Falcon 9 rocket with two additional first stage boosters. This spacecraft will be evaluated by FAA for the moon flight as per Mr. Musk. He also revealed that if NASA wants its own astronauts to fly on similar missions, it would take priority.
The operations of the spacecraft will be autonomous for which the passengers are to be trained for emergency procedures. Some communications systems upgrades for deep space flight are at hand.
Musk told the reporters that the actual cost of the mission would be confidential. But it can be estimated around $1.3 billion to $433 million per flight.
SpaceX, founded in 2002 has a goal of self-sustaining civilization on Mars making humanity multi planetary through acceleration of space exploration. The moon trip is one of the major steps in this regard.
We are all excited for this mission and waiting eagerly for it to happen. This could be the initiation of establishing human civilization to space.