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article imageSpaceX will send two tourists around the moon in 2018

By Karen Graham     Feb 28, 2017 in Science
SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk made a startling announcement Monday, saying two private individuals have hired his company to fly a manned mission around the moon in 2018.
Musk added that the two space tourists "have already paid a significant deposit," reports the BBC."This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years," he said.
The two tourists did not give permission for their names to be released, nor is the price of the trip being revealed, but Musk says the two individuals know each other. The mission will take about one week, with the Dragon making a loop around the moon into deep space and then returning to Earth, traveling between 300 to 400,000 miles on the trip.
The spacecraft will be piloted with an autonomous system controlled from the ground, reports Quartz. Musk did add that if something were to go wrong, the two people might have to intervene using the spacecraft's controls. And yes, the two would-be astronauts will go through a program of health and safety training.
Kennedy Space Center s hustoric Launch Pad 39A will be used to launch gthe Falcon Heavy rocket with ...
Kennedy Space Center's hustoric Launch Pad 39A will be used to launch gthe Falcon Heavy rocket with the Dragon 2 crew capsule.
According to the BBC, Musk said, the two space tourists are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here. They're certainly not naive, and we'll do everything we can to minimize that risk, but it's not zero."
SpaceX on track to launch manned mission to ISS
SpaceX is on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in mid-2018, with the manned moon mission set to follow six months later with the launching of the Falcon Heavy rocket and the Dragon 2 crew capsule.
According to the SpaceX announcement, the Falcon Heavy rocket with the Dragon 2 crew capsule is due to launch its first test flight this summer. If the launch is successful, it will be "the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket."
The Dragon 2 is currently scheduled to fly its first unmanned mission late in 2017  and to fly astro...
The Dragon 2 is currently scheduled to fly its first unmanned mission late in 2017, and to fly astronauts for the first time in the second quarter of 2018.
The launch of the Dragon 2 crew capsule to the ISS is an unmanned demonstration mission. It will be in automatic mode. It is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Then in mid-2018, SpacwX will launch the Dragon 2 with astronauts to the ISS. SpaceX is currently contracted to perform an average of four missions to the ISS for NASA, three carrying supplies and one with a replacement crew.
The Dragon 2 crew capsule was designed for the express purpose of carrying humans into space, and it has already developed a flight heritage. The manned moon mission in 2018 will be taking off from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral – the same one used by NASA's Apollo lunar mission program.
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