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SpaceX Prepares to Send Private Spacecraft on Moon Orbital Trip

SpaceX Prepares to Send Private Spacecraft on Moon Orbital TripTwo tourists will get the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime around the moon. SpaceX confirmed that two private citizens will get to travel the farthest into deep space. The last time the United States sent astronauts to the Moon was in the 1960s and 1970s for the NASA Apollo missions.

CEO Elon Musk confirmed, “We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them.”

The two citizens were not been named in the announcement. Musk only stated that they “have already paid a significant deposit.” They will be subjected to health tests and training before final approval.

Musk added,” 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.”

The tourists will ride in California-based company’s Crew Dragon capsule. The ship will be subjected to its first unmanned test flight sometime this year. The spacecraft was designed around the ships used to send cargo to the International Space Station but with a few upgrades to allow for human carriage.

The capsule sits atop the SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which will also undergo its first test flight this summer. Musk explained that the rocket “will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket. At five million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds that thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.”

Musk, co-founder of PayPal and leader of Tesla Motors, is emerging as the leader in the modern commercial space industry with the first private cargo carrier being sent by the company to the International Space Station in 2010. Musk is an outspoken space enthusiast with a dream to colonize Mars. He believes that they will be able to send 100 humans at a time to colonize the Red Planet by 2024.

There are a number of other companies in the private sector that have similar ambitions. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos who founded Blue Origin announced their plans to build their rocket New Glenn that will be able to launch people into space. He believes that making it to Mars will take decades. Virgin Atlantic, led by British billionaire Richard Branson, already has over 600 people signed up to reach the edge of space, over 62 miles above Earth in their rockets. They charge $250,000 but that is not deterring people with money like actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.
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