SpaceX has announced it will be sending two civilian passengers on a trip to circle the moon next year.
The mission joins a long list of space firsts by the space agency’s founder, CEO, and CTO, Elon Musk, who was once dubbed “Rocket Man” by Queen’s Alumni Review magazine.
Musk – who also co-founded PayPal, is the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, and co-founder and chairman of SolarCity – attended Queen’s University in Kingston from 1989 to 1991.
SpaceX stated it was approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They will make the trip after being launched by the agency’s Falcon Heavy rocket, due for its first test flight this summer, which will provide more than twice the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft is also scheduled to be launched to the International Space Centre Later this year as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Initially unmanned, it is expected to fly crew to the station in the second quarter of 2018.
Once operational Crew Dragon missions have been carried out for NASA, SpaceX will launch the two passengers on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth.
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After the SpaceX announcement, Elon Musk simply tweeted: “Fly me to the moon… Ok” with a link to the agency announcement.
Fly me to the moon … Okhttps://t.co/6QT8m5SHwn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2017
But many others on Twitter were unabashed in their excitement at the news, and here are a few of our favourite tweets – including the first one from former Kingstonian (while an RMC student), astronaut Chris Hadfield:
And check out this drone view of SpaceX landing its CRS-10 Falcon 9 First Stage, returning after it launched a Dragon cargo spaceship to the International Space Station on February 19.