Musk: SpaceX to shuttle tourists around the moon in 2018
Ambitious businessman Elon Musk wants to send tourists to space alongside his vision for the colonization of Mars.(AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz, File)
(RNN) - Two private citizens will make a trip around the moon in 2018, according to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
The two individuals, who made significant deposits ahead of the trip, will undergo health and fitness tests before launching off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, the iconic home base for the Apollo and space shuttle programs.
"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," a SpaceX press release reads.
The flight will last roughly a week.
The two passengers have remained anonymous. CNN estimates they are "likely paying millions" for the trip. SpaceX has not disclosed the price of the flight.
Space tourism is not an entirely new industry. The Russian government has sent at least seven paying travelers to the International Space Station since 2001. The trips reportedly cost as much as $20 million. The country, like Musk, plans to resume trips in 2018.
Anousheh Ansari was the first female paying tourist to the ISS in 2006, but she took umbrage with the term.
"I don't like the term space tourism or space tourist because I feel that it doesn't do justice to what we do as spaceflight participants or explorers," she told the European Space Agency. "A tourist is someone who decides to go somewhere, buys tickets, takes their camera, packs a bag and goes. For this experience, I had to train for six months in Star City, perform physical and mental training, learn all the systems of the space station and the Soyuz rocket."
On Sept. 1, 2016, a SpaceX vehicle exploded during a launch from Cape Canaveral. Musk and the company underwent an internal investigation that lasted until Jan. 2 before they resumed launches. Musk called the review process the "toughest puzzle we've ever had to solve."
No one was injured in the explosion.
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