Late next year, SpaceX will send two private citizens deeper into space than any humans have gone up until now. Announced today in a blog post, SpaceX reported that plans are underway to send a Dragon crew capsule around the moon. There is no word on who may be taking this historic trip, but the pool for potential moon tourists is likely quite small.
The two have already paid a sizable deposit to hold their place in line, and the trip will launch them around the moon and return them to Earth. The trip will, of course, depend on both subjects passing the appropriate physicals and completing the necessary training, which SpaceX anticipates will start later this year. Before acting as a space chauffeur, SpaceX will need to do a bit more testing with the Dragon crew capsule, as well as complete a few missions for NASA.
Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth. Lift-off will be from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral – the same launch pad used by the Apollo program for its lunar missions. This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.
SpaceX explains that though their primary obligations are to NASA, the federal space agency has actually encouraged them to seek out customers such as this. Private money paid will reduce overall government costs, as well as provide additional data on flights, takeoffs, landings, etc. that will be beneficial in the long run.
In a way, I’m kind of surprised that the relevant parties haven’t already come forward. I can only imagine if I had the kind of money necessary to rent that kind of transportation I’d be screaming it from the rooftops. I’m assuming we’ll probably hear more as the mission date nears, but for now it’s exciting enough to know that this mission will be happening. You can read more from today’s announcement at the source link below.
What do you think? Are you jealous of these as of now unnamed citizens? Any wild speculation about who it might be? Tell us all about it in the comment section below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.Source: SpaceX