Elon Musk is sending two people to the moon next year, his company SpaceX announced Monday.
The billionaire plans to fly two private citizens on what will hopefully be a round-trip, circumlunar mission to Earth’s nearest neighbor.
From The New York Post
“Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration,” the company said in a statement.
“We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.”
Little is known about the two people who will be taking the week-long journey — only that they have paid “a significant deposit” for the private flight after approaching the company last year, according to SpaceX.
“[It’s] nobody from Hollywood,” Musk admitted Monday during a conference call with reporters.
The 45-year-old went on to describe how the individuals were “very serious” about the moon mission after receiving their health and fitness tests earlier this year — and that they had “their eyes open” about the dangers of space flight, according to the Guardian.
“We’re doing everything we can to minimize that risk, but it’s not zero,” Musk said. “We would expect to do more than one mission of this nature.”
The pair will be sent into space using the never-before-tested Dragon 2 spacecraft and the new, reusable Falcon Heavy rocket — which has been successfully launched and landed at least eight times, most recently on Feb. 19 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
That test was the first SpaceX flight in the Sunshine State since September, when one of their Falcon 9 rockets exploded just before launch.
While the company has been contracted to send several crewed missions to the International Space Station for NASA, they have yet to complete any yet. They plan to test their Dragon spacecraft without humans on board later this year before eventually transitioning to manned missions to the ISS in 2018.
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