Two customers have booked tickets for a roundtrip to the Moon, which will apparently embark as early as next year. No, that’s not a joke. It seems that rather than becoming an astronaut you can simply use your wealth to visit our celestial neighbor.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the company accepted a “significant deposit” from the two unnamed passengers for a trip around the Moon aboard its Dragon 2 spacecraft.
“This is really a thing that’s happened,” Musk said on Monday. “We’ve been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the Moon…” Musk said the company plans to use its Falcon Heavy rocket for the mission, which will shuttle the paying customers about 400,000 miles.
SpaceX is expected to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket on its maiden voyage later this summer. This is the same rocket SpaceX is expected to use when it sends its Red Dragon to Mars, which may also happen as early as 2018. At least, Musk said as much early last year.
Next stop, the Moon
The Moon mission is anticipated to last for one week, during which the two passengers will travel beyond the Moon and loop back to Earth. Musk said the two passengers will begin their training later this year in preparation for the mission.
Other flight teams have reportedly expressed interest in similar missions, so next year’s trip (if all goes according to plan) may be the first of many. SpaceX expects the crewed mission to take place in the second quarter of 2018.