On Monday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced two aspiring space travelers approached the company to take a trip to the Moon in 2018. The firm has agreed, and they will launch them late next year onboard a Dragon 2 capsule.
Experts in the space community are skeptic about SpaceX’s capabilities to carry out this monumental endeavor. Achieving such a feat would make the company the first private entity in history to send non-astronauts to space beyond low-Earth orbit.
The firm has a history of significantly quick advancements halted by incidents from time to time. Elon Musk plans on developing technology at Tesla that could be used to accelerate commercial space travel further.
How does SpaceX plan to send tourists to the Moon?
Fly me to the moon … Okhttps://t.co/6QT8m5SHwn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2017
SpaceX has traced a clear plan to take the pair of space tourists around the Moon and back to Earth in a week. The goal is launching them in a Dragon 2 capsule onboard a Falcon Heavy rocket in late 2018.
To get there, the company has to take a couple of steps. First, it will launch the Dragon 2 capsule for the first time, an event that is scheduled to happen later this year as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Given that the space agency has also provided extensive funding for SpaceX’s development endeavors, they have priority when the first manned mission to the International Space Station launches in the spring of 2018.
To ready the two crew members who will set on a journey to the Moon and back, SpaceX and NASA will train them to operate the Dragon 2 capsule in case of emergencies. They will also undergo traditional space training to stand launch and in-orbit conditions ahead of their trip.
The team has to become many barriers before sending tourists to space
Unfortunately, there are some very real obstacles in the horizon for the company and the two aspiring travelers. Experts suggest NASA regulations will delay the private tour around the Moon at least for a couple of months.
For starters, the mission depends on the results of the first two Dragon 2 capsule trips to the ISS. If everything is under control during these events, there is still a significant element in the way: the Falcon Heavy rocket.
NASA has yet to test, analyze, and approve the Falcon Heavy as fit for duty. It is set to fly for the first time this summer and, if cleared, the rocket would be the second most powerful spacecraft in operation right now.
The couple of thrill seekers who want to go to the Moon with SpaceX have already paid ‘a significant deposit’ to the company. A ticket to ride on the Falcon Heavy and go around our satellite in a Dragon 2 is expected to cost more than $100 million.