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SpaceX to fly two tourists around Moon next year

March 1, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

US private rocket company SpaceX, run by US billionaire entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk, has announced that two private citizens have already paid a “significant deposit” for a flight round the Moon in late 2018.

“This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years,” chief executive Musk said.

Musk said the co-operation of the US space agency NASA had made the plan possible.

NASA issued the following statement: “NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher.

SpaceX Launchpad

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

“For more than a decade, NASA has invested in private industry to develop capabilities for the American people and seed commercial innovation to advance humanity’s future in space.

“NASA is changing the way it does business through its commercial partnerships to help build a strong American space economy and free the agency to focus on developing the next-generation rocket, spacecraft and systems to go beyond the moon and sustain deep space exploration.”

The SpaceX spaceship is set for its first unmanned test flight later this year, after which the two unnamed tourists (Musk says neither of them is a Hollywood star) will head off around the moon. In Musk’s words, they will travel “faster and further into the solar system than any before them.

“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.

“We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year.”

Written by Peter Needham

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