Space X announced that it has been approached by two private individuals who want to make a journey to the moon and back. The pair have reportedly already paid a significant deposit for the Moon-bound trip aboard a SpaceX Dragon 2 crew capsule, planned for late next year.
According to a blog post made by SpaceX, the two will need to pass health and fitness tests before beginning training later this year. The flight could be the first of many private space travelers, says SpaceX.
“Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.”
SpaceX made it a point to thank NASA and its Commercial Crew Program for its assistance in the development and funding of the Dragon capsule. The flight will use the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle with its 5 million pounds of thrust. That is more than twice the thrust provided by any other launch vehicle in operation today. It is two thirds the thrust of the Saturn V rocket utilized for the Apollo moon missions.
Fly me to the moon … Okhttps://t.co/6QT8m5SHwn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2017
Later this year, SpaceX will send the Dragon capsule on an automated, unmanned mission to the International Space Station. That mission will test the capabilities of the capsule and the launch vehicle for the crewed flights to come later. After the first successful crewed mission, SpaceX will shift its focus to the first private space journey.
Private flights will help spread the cost of the development of the Commercial Crew Program over more flights, reducing the per flight cost significantly. That will be a benefit to NASA, the federal government, and space travel in general.