SpaceX to send 2 passengers to moon in 2018

"Fly me to the moon".

Elon Musk's space ambitions for the common man is happening earlier than previously anticipated, but only if the common man is a very wealthy tourist looking to go to space.

"Dragon is created to be an autonomous vehicle", Musk said at a press conference.

"NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher", the statement reads.

Mr Musk said the co-operation of America's Nasa space agency had made the plan possible.

This first demonstration will not include any live human beings on board and will be in automatic mode.

Two people who know one another approached the company about sending them on a weeklong flight just beyond the moon, according to Musk.

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On July 16, 1969, the first humans walked on the moon.

SpaceX said the tourists will launch from Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, Fla., on launch pad 39A, which is the same one used for the Apollo missions. That will be where the private moon mission will originate as well. Neither has a Falcon Heavy rocket, which is essentially a Falcon 9 rocket with two strap-on boosters, according to Musk.

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.

The company itself is valued in the billions, and the rockets themselves are multi-million dollar instruments, but the overall cost of this kind of personalized space mission remains unknown at this time.

NASA last week announced it was studying the possibility of adding crew to the test flight of its megarocket, at the request of the Trump administration.

The 2018 moonshot, if successful, will mark another first for Musk's ambitious company, which has its sights on an eventual mission to Mars.

Lori Garver, who served as deputy administrator of NASA during the Obama administration, told the Washington Post that she was skeptical that SpaceX could pull off such a flight by the end of next year, but said it would be "fantastic" if they could do so by 2020.

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