Two space tourists headed to the moon next year

Posted on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at 10:53 am

SpaceX plans to take two space tourists to the moon—and back—in 2018. During a news conference Monday, CEO Elon Musk said the two passengers have already paid “significant,” but unspecified, deposits for the five-day trip that will sling them around the moon, skimming the lunar surface, before returning to Earth. SpaceX will use its Dragon crew capsule for the trip, a vehicle that is supposed to start ferrying NASA astronauts to the International Space Station in the next two years. Although the two tourists have paid their deposits, NASA has first rights to the seats on next year’s flight, if the agency wants them, Musk said. NASA congratulated the company on its space tourism achievement, while reminding Musk not to forget his contractual obligations to the U.S. government. SpaceX has flown cargo ships to the ISS since 2012 and has a $2.6 billion contract to transport people by 2019. The SpaceX moon flight will correspond with the 50th anniversary of NASA’s historic Apollo 8 mission, which launched in December 1968.