Two tourists will be sent to a trip around the moon towards the later part of 2018, according to the space exploration corporation SpaceX. It has been revealed by the CEO of the company, Elon Musk, that the two tourists have already paid for the trip. However, the identity of the individuals and the exact amount paid for the journey, have been kept confidential. If you don’t know about SpaceX, it is a US based private rocket company that is currently working to revolutionize space technology globally.
The much hyped, moon trip will include a one week stay in SpaceX’s Dragon 2 capsule. This capsule is going to be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket. The Falcon Heavy Rocket comes with a heavy price tag of $90 million. The rocket will be sent for a test flight in the coming months of the year 2017.
CEO of SpaceX said that this journey has been arranged with the support and assistance of NASA. Without NASA, it would be impossible to arrange such a journey. This trip has been planned nearly 45 years after NASA astronauts last embarked on a lunar mission. And it will look a lot like NASA’s historic Apollo 8 mission — the first and only crewed circum-lunar mission in history. The differences comprise of the number of people on board: now two tourists, instead of three crew members; and the use of a fresh new spacecraft and launch vehicle. SpaceX said that every space journey comes with a set of potential risks and the company will do everything under its control to minimize those risks. In order to ensure the safety of the passengers, they will go through a series of fitness tests and rigorous training this year.
Trip “AROUND” the Moon
After reading about this trip, you must be thinking that the tourists of the lunar journey will land on the moon. However, that is not the case here. The tourists will only be going around the moon and not actually landing on it. Musk said:
“The two passengers will travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them”
Even though SpaceX has the capability to arrange and execute such a big plan, there are doubts being shared by industry experts that the possibility of such a trip in a time as early as 2018 might not be possible.
Space tourism is indeed a very expensive activity. Millions of dollars have been spent by space tourists just to visit the space station above the Earth’s surface. By now, seven space tourists have managed to visit the International Space Station. The station is 200 miles above earth’s surface and the tourists have spent millions in flying there on the Russian Soyuz rockets. As compared to this trip, the SpaceX flight will be a better one. It will be a distant trip which will take the capsule to 400,000 miles from earth. This trip is being described as an extraordinary one because no astronauts or space tourists have gone this far from the Earth after the last of NASA’s Apollo moon landings in 1972.
Source: New York Times