Elon Musk: SpaceX is going to the moon next year
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is well known for his grand ideas, but it looks as though he’s outdone himself. Yesterday, Musk’s SpaceX company said it plans to fly two private citizens on a mission round the moon, and it’s aiming to do it next year.
According to a blog post on SpaceX’s website, both of these prospective space tourists have already put down a hefty deposit, and SpaceX is already planning to start their training in the next few months.
“Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration,” says a post on the SpaceX website.
The private moon mission is set to use the company’s yet to be used Falcon Heavy rocket, a rocket that SpaceX says is only topped in performance by the Saturn V used in the actual Apollo missions. “At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust,” the SpaceX blog says, “Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.”
SpaceX also plans to sent the private crew in a “Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft,” which will be making its debut flight to the ISS later this year. That means that both the rocket and spacecraft SpaceX wants to use on its first moon mission haven’t actually been tested yet, which would make me a little nervous if I were due to use them next year.
SpaceX’s latest plan is clearly its most ambitious yet, but it looks like it could soon be almost routine. In the same blog post announcing the mission, SpaceX states that: “Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow,” so this could potentially be the first of many citizen space missions for the company.