If you have the money, the moon is within reach.
If you have the money, the moon is within reach.
Image: NASA.
The age of space tourism has officially blasted off, as SpaceX plans to take two private citizens to the moon.

    The Hawthorne, California-based company, which already makes supply trips to the International Space Station in its Dragon spacecraft, will take two people on a trip around the moon in 2018, according to an announcement by the company.
    The two “have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission," the news release said. "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.” 
     The company, founded by Elon Musk, didn’t name the two individuals or detail the six-figure price tag. SpaceX will conduct fitness tests on the two and begin initial training later this year, according to the news release. “Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow.”
    A statement by NASA mentioned that SpaceX also has another obligation: The company must fulfill its contract to transport American astronauts to the space station. The Boeing Co. and SpaceX were awarded a total of $6.8 billion in contracts in 2014 to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Currently, American astronauts are flown to the station in Russian spacecraft. 
    Earlier this month, a Government Accountability Office report said both Boeing and SpaceX "have experienced delays and do not expect to meet their original 2017 certification dates. If these delays continue, certification could be pushed into 2019—which is when the U.S.'s contract with Russia for ISS transportation ends."  
    Before SpaceX undertakes the private mission, it will begin to fulfill its contract with the government. “Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth,” the  news release said. “This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them."    
    SpaceX has experienced both success and setbacks. In 2015, for example, a SpaceX supply ship headed for the space station exploded after takeoff.  


    Boeing, SpaceX to fly astronauts to station

    Supplies for space station go up in smoke

       Follow StudyHall.Rocks on Twitter

      If you would like to comment, give us a shout, or like us on Facebook and tell us what you think.