SpaceX to reveal plans, passenger for private moon mission

SpaceX books private passenger flight around the Moon

"SpaceX has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle-an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972".

The teasing tweet said more details will be revealed on Monday, 17th September via a live webcast that will begin at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT on Sept. 18).

On Twitter, Elon Musk was asked who the passenger is and simply responded with an emoji of the Japanese flag.

In a recent question-and-answer session held in Madrid, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said the company is targeting initial tests on the vehicle in late 2019 and launches as early as 2021.

"We've been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the moon from some private individuals", he said at the time.

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SpaceX now has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the astronauts living at the ISS, via regular cargo trips on its Dragon spaceship, launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. We plan to do that, probably in the fourth quarter of next year (2018).

Now, the Hawthorne, Calif. -based company says it's ready to unveil the name of the first person to take the trip and the reason for the journey.

The company first made plans to fly two private citizens around the moon in February of 2017 using the company's Falcon Heavy rocket and Dragon capsule, but those plans have apparently been revised.

On its website, SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission", implying there will be more. These include performing satellite launches, cleaning up space junk, and of course, taking the rich and space curious on trips around the moon.

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