Elon Musk has made a very Elon Musk announcement: mentioning, via a Tweet, that SpaceX is going to send two tourists to the Moon and back by the end of next year.
That’s pretty ambitious for a company that hasn’t tested its heavy lift rocket yet. But whoever the two people are, they’ve already plopped down a deposit on the flight and are training for their mission to where humanity hasn’t visited in person since 1972.
Whoever the anonymous duo is, they’ll strap into a Dragon 2, be lifted by the Falcon Heavy, and fly around the Moon before coming back to Earth. This will all reportedly happen at the end of next year, just a few months after the Dragon 2 was to haul its first occupants to the International Space Station via a contract with NASA.
But the Falcon Heavy has been behind schedule almost since it was announced. The vehicle, three first stages strapped side-by-side with payload sitting on top of the center stage, was announced in 2005 and slated for a 2013 launch once the dust settled, but no launch test has transpired since. Issues with Falcon 9 have set that date back a few times, though a test is reportedly coming in the next few months. In addition, NASA has been preparing for the possibility that the Dragon 2 and its Boeing competitor, the Starliner, may not take ISS occupants up until 2019.
Also read about China’s scientific mission in the Moon: https://worldinnovationsblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/mission-for-moon-rocks/