SpaceX to send world's first private passenger around Moon

Carlton Robbins
September 14, 2018

Musk responded with a Japanese flag emoji, suggesting the passenger is Japanese. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972, said the company.

In February, 2017, SpaceX announced it would send the world's first two space tourists around the Moon in late 2018.

The big reveal on who it is - and when the flight to the moon will be - will be announced Monday at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

"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".

In 2017, Japanese internet conglomerate SofBbank, which runs the $93 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, invested in satellite broadband provider OneWeb, a business which SpaceX is also interested in, according to leaked documents obtained by Quartz.

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The 35-story BFR will be powered by 31 of SpaceX's next-generation Raptor engines, with a rocket and spacecraft component - the Big Falcon Spaceship, or BFS. By the early 2020s, SpaceX hopes the BFR will replace all of its existing rockets and spacecraft.

SpaceX's BFR compared to other launch vehicles.

SpaceX is a key commercial partner to NASA, and is working on a crew ship that will make its first flight to the orbiting International Space Station next year, restoring access to space from United States soil for the first time since 2011, when the space shuttle program was retired after 30 years.

While SpaceX is still planning to take the two tourists, who paid a "significant deposit" for the opportunity, the trip will be "postponed until at least mid-2019 and likely longer". The original plan called for two paying passengers to fly around the moon this year, using a Falcon Heavy rocket and a Dragon crew capsule. However the passengers were never named and the flight has yet to materialize.

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