Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, announced on Monday afternoon that the Californian astronautical firm was approached by two citizens to carry out a space flight around the Moon in 2018.
It will be a first since the end of the American Apollo missions in the early 1970s.
Fly me to the moon … Okhttps://t.co/6QT8m5SHwn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2017
The two individuals, whose identity was not revealed in the company’s release , are not trained astronauts.
“We are very pleased to announce that SpaceX has been solicited by two private individuals to fly around the Moon at the end of next year,” the company said Monday.
“They have already deposited an important depot for a mission around the Moon,” SpaceX adds. “We plan to conduct health and fitness assessments as well as begin the first training sessions later this year,” the company said.
“Others have also expressed strong interest and we expect others to do the same,” she says.
SpaceX adds in its release that more details on the crew composition will be provided when the successful medical examinations confirm the establishment of the expedition.
These tourists will fly aboard the Dragon 2 spacecraft. This is a version of the Dragon Freight Capsule designed to transport astronauts developed under a Nasa contract. The capsule will make its first non-astronaut flight to the International Space Station later this year.
Dragon 2 will be launched by the heavy version of the Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, the “Falcon Heavy” which is in development and whose first test flight is scheduled for this summer.
Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful launcher to reach Earth’s orbit since the Saturn V rocket from the Apollo mission to the Moon, SpaceX says.