SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he plans to do a private space mission, using a SpaceX rocket to transporting two passengers around the moon.
In a call with reporters, CEO Elon Musk said the two passengers know each other but would not disclose any more information about the individuals. Just last week, we saw the Falcon 9's third successful landing on solid ground, a landing which took place alongside SpaceX's first commercial rocket launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. "I think they are entering this with their eyes open, knowing there is some risk here", Musk said. According to Gizmodo and Musk, these kind of paid missions look to be a part of SpaceX's broader ambitions, allowing SpaceX the funds and experience to build out its Mars plans, and allowing billionaires one hell of a vacation. "It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit farther out into deep space and then loop back to Earth".
SpaceX has announced that it is planning a lunar mission next year.
SpaceX will send two people to the moon for a private mission sometime in 2018. The manned mission is scheduled for the second quarter of 2018.
"This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years", a news release from SpaceX read. The first mission will not have people on board.
NASA has contracted SpaceX to carry out roughly four missions with Dragon 2 per year, the majority of which will be taking cargo up.