US billionaire Elon Musk has said on Monday that his company SpaceX plans to fly two private citizens on a mission around the moon by late 2018 as part of a lunar journey that would last about a week and travel deeper into space than any human has ventured before.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk would not name the two individuals, who he said approached the company and would pay for the flight.
“The passengers are very serious about the trip and have already paid a significant deposit,” The Verge reported citing Musk as saying.
The plan is to do the trip in the second quarter of 2018 on the Crew Dragon spacecraft with the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is due to do its maiden launch this summer.
The trip around the Moon would take approximately one week: it would skim the surface of the Moon, go further out into deep space, and loop back to Earth — approximately 300,000 to 400,000 miles.
The two people going on the trip, who weren’t named, already know each other. They will begin initial training for the trip later this year.
Musk, however, declined to comment on the exact cost of the trip, but said it was “comparable” or a little more than the cost of a crewed mission to the International Space Station. On the Russian Soyuz rocket one ticket costs NASA around $80 million.
Musk is famous for laying out ambitious timelines and goals—he ultimately plans to colonize Mars, for example— that often get pushed back. SpaceX has never flown people before, and has had two of its rockets blow up in the last two years.Follow @gorkhapost