Elon Musk’s private space company, SpaceX, wants to send some tourists around the moon and back, before the end of the next year, and if it’s accomplished, that will be the farter humans went in space in the last 40 years!
Musk has made the announcement on Monday and said that two private individuals approached SpaceX, to enquire the company about a week trip around the moon with no landing, and then come back to Earth.
“This would do a long loop around the moon,” said Musk. The company plans to launch this moon mission by late 2018.
The individuals would spend a week inside a SpaceX Dargon 2 capsule, lauched from SpaceX’s rocket, Falcon Heavy. Although the spacecraft will be fully automatic, still the passengers will receive training for any eventual emergency.
Of course, Musk didn’t disclose how much the travelers would have to pay for the ride, but he said that the cost would be a little higher than the cost of getting crewed missions to the International Space Station.
We know the rocket itself is valued at a price of 90 million dollars. Although the fact that the trip is undoubtedly within the capabilities of Musk’s company, industry experts still question the close timing and enforce it by saying that dates are not the company’s strong suit. We just need to remember that the Dragon 2 and the Falcon Heavy are already a few years behind in schedule and still have to fly.
Just a week ago, a crewless Dragon capsule taking cargo to the International Space Station had to abort its mission because of a glitch, but at least it landed swiftly. Musk also said that the two private space travelers wished to remain anonymous for the time being, the only information he disclosed is that they know each other.
SpaceX has still to make good on its contract with NASA to take a few NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, which if no further delays occur, would mean that they will be travelling there by next year’s spring.
We’ll just have to wait and see!