SpaceX to send 2 passengers to moon in 2018

"We've been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the Moon..."

"They're certainly not naive, and we'll do everything we can to minimize that risk", Musk said of his customers.

"Dragon is created to be an autonomous vehicle", Musk said at a press conference.

In a statement, NASA commended SpaceX "for reaching higher".

"For more than a decade, NASA has invested in private industry to develop capabilities for the American people and seed commercial innovation to advance humanity's future in space".

A rendering of what the SpaceX Dragon space capsule will look like.

SpaceX was conducting a fueling test on Launch Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral when the incident took place, an engineer at the Kennedy Space Center told ABC News at the time. That will be where the private moon mission will originate as well.


Falcon Heavy is 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, making it two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle now flying. Neither has a Falcon Heavy rocket, which is essentially a Falcon 9 rocket with two strap-on boosters, according to Musk.

"I think there's a market for one or two of these per year", he said, estimating that space tourist fares charged by SpaceX could eventually contribute 10 to 20 percent of the company's revenue. There are the obvious costs: the spacecraft, the rocket, and the fuel.

Following the announcement, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) commented on SpaceX's commitment to interstellar exploration. Such a flight to the lunar neighborhood wouldn't happen before 2019 at best - if, indeed, that option is even implemented.

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will celebrate his homecoming this week from a one-year space mission, was quick to tweet: "It's been nearly a year".

SpaceX has plans to send tourists around the moon as early as 2018.

A priceless bag of moon dust collected during the Apollo 11 mission has been returned to a Chicago-area woman after she won a landmark legal victory against NASA. His ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.

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