Well, here’s a bit of space news we weren’t expecting: Today, future Martian overlord and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that in 2018, the company will fly two private citizens around the Moon in its Dragon 2 spacecraft, carried by its extremely powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. While the voyagers’ names have not been disclosed, according to SpaceX, a “significant deposit” has already been made.
“This is a really exciting thing that’s happened,” Elon Musk told reporters at a press conference. “We’ve been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the Moon…[and these passengers] are very serious about it. We plan to do that probably [with] Dragon 2 spacecraft with the Falcon Heavy rocket.”
According to Musk, the mission will last approximately one week. The passengers will travel beyond the Moon and loop back to Earth, covering a distance of 500,000 to 650,000km. While the passengers will undergo some sort of training beforehand, it’s unclear if the two have any experience with piloting, never mind spaceflight.
The mission, although unrelated to NASA’s plan to slingshot astronauts around the Moon in several years’ time using the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule, was made possible in part by funding SpaceX has received to develop its human spaceflight technology through the commercial crew program.
This won’t be the last time we see this sort of voyage from SpaceX — according to Musk, the company is “expected to do more than one mission of this nature”.
Money can’t buy you happiness, but apparently, it can buy you one sweet holiday.