Two tourists will ride a SpaceX rocket into orbit around the moon sometime late next year, according to an official statement on the company’s website.
“We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year,” states SpaceX’s official website. “They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission.”
SpaceX declined to name the two tourists, but stated that they have approached the company and would pay for the flight.
SpaceX intends to launch the tourists around the moon on its Falcon Heavy rocket, which is due to have its first test flight this summer. If successful, the Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Apollo program’s Saturn V moon rocket. A single launch of this rocket could cost up to $135 million.
Blue Origin, a competitor to SpaceX owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos has already opened up “early access” to ticket information for potential space tourists after a successful test of its New Shepard rocket’s escape pod. Blue Origin will send the tourists to space on the old rocket as well as its recently unveiled New Glenn reusable rocket, a huge orbital vehicle the company aims to start flying in 2019.
SpaceX, Blue Origin and other companies have been competing to develop the first fully reusable rocket. Reusable rockets are considered a major advance by the rocket and space industry as spaceflight cost lies not in the fuel, but rather the rocket components.
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