SpaceX announces plans for moon mission in 2018

Posted March 01, 2017

SpaceX completed a successful test flight on Feb.20 for its Falcon 9 rocket that was carrying the Dragon 2 spaceship, the development of which was largely funded by NASA Commercial Crew Program.

As reported by Space.com, SpaceX has a $2.6 billion contract with NASA to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station using its Dragon space capsule - the space capsule that the two tourists will travel in.

Musk also said that he wanted to position SpaceX so that it would be the first aerospace firm called upon in the event that NASA plans their own return to the moon. "We've been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the Moon..."

Musk declined to identify the customers or say how much they would pay to fly on the weeklong mission, except to say that it is "nobody from Hollywood". "We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure it safely meets the contractual obligations to return the launch of astronauts to USA soil and continue to successfully deliver supplies to the International Space Station".

Elon Musk's space ambitions for the common man is happening earlier than previously anticipated, but only if the common man is a very wealthy tourist looking to go to space. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board.

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"I think they are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here", Musk told reporters in the telephone conference, a day after teasing via Twitter that an announcement of some sort was forthcoming.

The paying passengers would make a long loop around the moon, skimming the lunar surface and then going well beyond, perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles altogether.

"NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher". There are the obvious costs: the spacecraft, the rocket, and the fuel. Such a flight to the lunar neighborhood wouldn't happen before 2019 at best - if, indeed, that option is even implemented.

"A little bit more than the cost of a crewed mission to the space station would be", he said.

Having been inspired by broadcasts of lunar landings while she was growing up, Carlson is an avid collector of space objects, McHugh said. His ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.