Elon Musk plans 2018 moon trip for two intrepid space tourists

The space tourism race is well underway, after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed two customers will be going on a flight around the moon as soon as late 2018.

The wealthy pair will spend a reported US$70m (€66m, £56m) on the trip, with the anonymous individuals soon to begin training for the endeavour.

The journey will cover 400,000m (644,000km) and will take a week to complete, with the pair “slingshotted” around the moon and then returned to Earth. According to Musk, the mission would be completed on autopilot, with the passengers travelling unaided by an experienced astronaut.

"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," said Musk. "We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year."

Musk’s company is the biggest competitor to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, with both companies in competition to capitalise on the potentially super-lucrative space tourism industry.

In December, Branson’s newest commercial spacecraft took to the skies for its first free flight since a fatal crash of the VSS Unity’s predecessor in 2014. Once commercial flights are in operation, the six-man spacecraft will cost the hefty sum of US$250,000 (€232,000, £196,000) per person to fly, with around 700 people already signed up for flights.

For those who can’t afford the fee, a multi-million dollar visitor experience at Virgin’s Spaceport America in New Mexico offers a hands-on, authentic experience inside the commercial space launch facility.

Elon Musk  Space tourism  Virgin galactic  visitor attraction  SpaceX  NASA 
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The space tourism race is well underway, after SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed two customers will be going on a flight around the moon as soon as late 2018. The wealthy pair will spend a reported US$70m (€66m, £56m) on the trip, with the anonymous individuals soon to begin training for the endeavour. The journey will cover 400,000m (644,000km) and will take a week to complete, with the pair “slingshotted”
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Musk’s SpaceX is the biggest competitor to Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, with both companies in competition to capitalise on the potentially super-lucrative space tourism industry
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