NASA Reacts to SpaceX Announcement of Its 2018 Manned Moon Flight
SpaceX may be the first to offer moon tourism as Elon Musk revealed that the company will send two people to the moon in 2018.
Interestingly, SpaceX plans to send two common touristy individuals and not scientists or astronauts to the moon. Both will travel to the moon using a SpaceX Dragon capsule shuttled by a Falcon Heavy rocket. The mission will last for a week and will loop around the Earth's satellite at 400,000 miles.
The tourists allegedly paid SpaceX a lot of money in order to land the seat aboard the Dragon capsule, according to a report. The individuals were already chosen and are set to start training for the lunar travel soon.
Musk, however, did not divulge the name of the fortunate moon travelers as well as the price tag of the trip. If this pushes through, SpaceX may become the new standard of human spaceflight in terms of space tourism. And if the 2018 launch will be met, SpaceX will beat NASA to a modern manned flight to the moon.
"NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher," a NASA spokesperson said in a statement. "We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure it safely meets the contractual obligations to return the launch of astronauts to U.S. soil and continue to successfully deliver supplies to the International Space Station."
According to NASA, the agency had invested in private industries to further develop technologies that will enable deep space explorations. This explains why the agency fully supports SpaceX on its lunar tour.
This also strengthens NASA's "commercial partnerships" that aims to create a strong American space economy. Musk plans to launch the mission to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first-ever orbit around the moon.
"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," SpaceX said in a statement.
However, SpaceX will have to perform a ton of tests in order for the mission to push through. Surprisingly, U.S. President Donald Trump is an advocate of the manned mission to the moon and this SpaceX move may indeed receive a nod from the new administration.