SpaceX to fly two tourists to the moon

NASA to turn over Apollo 11 lunar bag to auction winner

"We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure it safely meets the contractual obligations to return the launch of astronauts to USA soil and continue to successfully deliver supplies to the International Space Station".

While there is excitement emanating from SpaceX, Lynne Dittmar, executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, told the New York Times the proposal is risky because the Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy are both years behind schedule and have yet to fly.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Musk said in the teleconference that his company's current contract with NASA would take precedent over the commercial flight should the administration choose to request the two seats on the Dragon capsule's flight around the moon.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which provided most of the funding for Dragon 2 development, is a key enabler for the mission, according to a SpaceX press release. Musk didn't say much about the two unidentified passengers, let alone how much money they're shelling out for their Moon voyage.

The paying passengers would make a long loop around the moon, skimming the lunar surface and then going well beyond, perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles distance altogether.

His client saw the bag on a U.S. Marshal's auction page previous year and had the winning bid of $995. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board. But that doesn't mean the government's space agency is giving up on its plans for interplanetary travel.




In a statement, NASA commended SpaceX "for reaching higher". There are the obvious costs: the spacecraft, the rocket, and the fuel.

SpaceX has seen some recent setbacks, including multiple delays launching and docking a capsule on the International Space Station earlier this month. Such a flight to the lunar neighborhood wouldn't happen before 2019 at best - if, indeed, that option is even implemented.

"It strikes me as risky", she said.

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will celebrate his homecoming this week from a one-year space mission, was quick to tweet: "It's been nearly a year".

Musk, for his part, also said his company's achievements would not be possible without NASA's full support. His ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.

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