SpaceX has just announced some exciting news, they will be bringing a privately crewed Dragon module beyond the moon late next year.
They revealed this news on their site, where they stated that they had been “approached” to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year, for which they have already paid a “significant deposit” to do so.
As part of that deposit, SpaceX will send the individuals into space, but before they do so they will be conducting health and fitness tests, alongside some initial training as early as later this year.
Once completed, they will be able to go on with the actual mission that is set to last for around a week, the pair will skim the surface of the Moon, continue to go further out into deep space, and then loop back to Earth for a total tip of around 300,000 to 400,000 miles.
It will probably look something like this (without the ISS docking):
SpaceX also revealed that some other flight teams have also expressed “strong interest” in doing the same, and so they expect many more missions like this to follow shortly after, which could be huge business for SpaceX.
They also added the following to thank NASA and to lay out their plans for the rocket that will launch the pair, Falcon heavy:
Most importantly, we would like to thank NASA, without whom this would not be possible. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which provided most of the funding for Dragon 2 development, is a key enabler for this mission. In addition, this will make use of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was developed with internal SpaceX funding. Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and, once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket. At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, 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 will also launch their Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program later this year, which will be a demonstration of what they can do, without any people on board and with the Dragon 2 in automatic mode.
They are currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS a year, three of which will just carry cargo, and if successful, the other one will carry crew members.
SpaceX plans to supplement this with the private missions, which will happen from the historic Pad 39A from Cape Canaveral.
It’s pretty exciting news and you can read more about it at the source link below.