The Space Exploration Technologies is planning to launch two passengers on a paid tourist trip to around moon next year. The spaceship used for the tour is being developed for astronauts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A heavy-lift rocket will also be used for the launch. The first privately funded tourist launch is tentatively expected to take place in late 2018.
It is not yet know how much the two unidentified customers will pay for the weeklong mission. Space Exploration Technologies Chief Executive Elon Musk only stated that none of the two customers belong to Hollywood. He also said the two prospective space tourists know each other.
“We would expect to do more than one mission of this nature. This should be incredibly exciting,” he added. He also stated that if NASA decides that it wants to be first in line for a lunar flyby mission, the U.S. space agency would take priority.
NASA is currently conducting a study to assess safety risks, costs and potential benefits of letting astronauts fly on the debut test flight of its heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule.
Musk said the privately funded moon expedition would take place after his California-based company, SpaceX, begins flying crew to the International Space Station for the NASA.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled to make a debut test flight later this year. Musk wants to use this rocket for SpaceX’s own lunar tourist mission.