SpaceX Plans to Send 2 Tourists Around Moon in 2018

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Two unidentified individuals approached Musk with the plan for the first private trip to the moon and the pair have already paid an undisclosed sum as a deposit.

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.

His client saw the bag on a U.S. Marshal's auction page previous year and had the winning bid of $995.

It would be the first manned mission into deep space since the end of the Apollo program in the early 1970's.

"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", Musk said in a statement.

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The Moon mission is anticipated to last for one week, during which the two passengers will travel beyond the Moon and loop back to Earth. The moon mission - which does not include a lunar landing - would follow about six months later using a Dragon crew capsule and a Falcon Heavy rocket launched from NASA's former moon pad in Florida.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk - the company's founder and chief executive officer - announced the surprising news barely a week after launching his first rocket from NASA's legendary moon pad.

Musk did not reveal the identities of the two wealthy passengers, but he said they know one another and are serious about the mission.

"NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher", NASA stated, according to PR Newswire.

Mr Musk said the co-operation of America's Nasa space agency had made the plan possible.

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The Dragon 2 and Falcon Heavy are years behind schedule and have yet to fly.

The two unnamed people will fly aboard a spaceship which is set for its first unmanned test flight later this year.

NASA last week announced it was studying the possibility of adding crew to the test flight of its megarocket, at the request of the Trump administration.

"I guess you could call her a little bit of a space geek, maybe a hobbyist".

Musk said that the cost of the mission will be completely covered by the anonymous passengers, according to the Times.

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