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A US company SpaceX plans has reached an agreement on Monday . Falcon Heavy rocket that can be used to launch two people on a trip around the moon in late 2018. “We are excited to announce that we have been contacted by two private citizens to make a trip around the Moon to End of next year, “Elon Musk, founder and president of the company, said in a statement.
Mr. Musk made the announcement at a press conference on Monday. He said two individuals approached the company to see if SpaceX would be willing to send them on a week-long cruise, which would fly past the surface of the moon – but not land – and continue out before the gravity of the Earth returned the spacecraft Space X and brought it back for a landing.
SpaceX, the ambitious rocket company headed by Elon Musk (Elon Reeve Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor), wants to send a couple of tourists around the moon and return before the end of next year. If they achieve that feat, they would be the first humans to venture into space in over 40 years. The United States has not sent astronauts to the moon since the US Apollo missions ended in the early 1970s.
“This would make a long loop around the moon,” Musk said. The company aims to launch this lunar mission by the end of 2018, he said. The two people would spend about a week inside one of SpaceX plans for Dragon 2 capsules, launched on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket. The spacecraft would be automated, but travelers would undergo emergency training, Musk said. He did not say how much travelers would pay for the trip, but Falcon Heavy himself has a list price of $ 90 million.
He said the two aspiring private space travelers wanted to remain anonymous for now, and he refused to describe them, except to say they knew each other. In response to a reporter’s question, Musk said the two were not Hollywood people.
Behind the main story of SpaceX plans
No astronaut has ventured beyond low Earth orbit since the last of NASA’s Apollo landings in 1972. NASA is working on a rocket that would once again be able to take astronauts into deep space. But that first launch, with no one on board, is scheduled for the end of next year. This month, NASA announced that it is considering putting astronauts on the first flight, but NASA officials say it would delay the launch in 2019.
The rocket SpaceX would use for the journey is more powerful than its current Falcon 9, but not as large as the NASA. It has not yet come off the ground. Meanwhile, SpaceX has a contract to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station using the Dragon 2 capsule launched on the smaller Falcon 9 rocket.
The inaugural flight, delayed repeatedly, is scheduled for this summer. That program has also been delayed. SpaceX plans to launch an unmanned test flight this year and take its few NASA passengers next spring, although a report from the Government Accountability Office this month cast doubt on SpaceX being able to do so quickly.
NASA has financed much of the development of the SpaceX spacecraft, and Musk said the space agency has priority. He said that if NASA decided it wanted to put its astronauts on the first lunar flight of the Heavy Hawk, SpaceX would do that.