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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 28 2017, @06:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the to-the-moon-and-back dept.

Two paying customers will travel to the "deep space" beyond the Moon. SpaceX will use the Falcon Heavy to deliver an automated Crew Dragon capsule carrying the unnamed customers next year. Falcon Heavy has not flown yet, and is expected to be tested this summer. NASA will use the Crew Dragon capsule to send astronauts to the International Space Station in 2018, after an unmanned test this year.

SpaceX will not reveal the identities of the participants until they complete health and fitness tests:

We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission. 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. We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.


Original Submission

Related Stories

SpaceX Plans to Fly a Passenger Around the Moon Using BFR 14 comments

After a previously planned flight around the Moon using a Falcon Heavy fizzled out, SpaceX has announced that it will send a private passenger around the Moon using a BFR launch vehicle. More details will be announced on Monday:

On Thursday evening, without any advance notice, SpaceX tweeted that is had signed the world's "first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle." Moreover, the company promised to reveal "who's flying and why" on Monday, September 17. The announcement will take place at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

There were only two other clues—tweets from Elon Musk himself. Was the rendering of the Big Falcon Spaceship in SpaceX's tweet new? Yes, Musk said. And was he the passenger? In response to this, the founder of SpaceX simply tweeted a Japanese flag emoji. This would seem to be a strong clue that the passenger is from Japan. Or maybe Musk was enjoying the epic Seven Samurai movie at that moment.

By announcing this on Thursday, and waiting four days to provide more details, the company has set off a big guessing game as to who will fly. Of course that is an interesting question, but we have many other questions that we'd like to see answered before that. We've included some of those questions below, along with some wild and (slightly) informed guesses. Musk even answered one of them for us.

The design of the BFS has apparently changed to include three prominent fins and an underside heat shield.

Related: How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
SpaceX to Launch Five Times in April, Test BFR by 2019
SpaceX to Begin BFR Production at the Port of Los Angeles
2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration


Original Submission

First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned 9 comments

The first SLS flight, around the moon, will not include a crew.

The first flight of NASA's next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), is now scheduled for 2019 and will not include a human crew, agency officials said today (May 12).

As of 2016, NASA had planned for the SLS' first flight to take place in 2018, without a crew on board. But the transition team that the Trump administration sent to the agency earlier this year asked for an internal evaluation of the possibility of launching a crew atop the SLS inside the agency's Orion space capsule.

Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, said during a news conference today that, based on the results of this internal evaluation, a crewed flight would be "technically feasible," but the agency will proceed with its initial plan to make the rocket's first flight uncrewed.

[...] SLS' first flight will be called Exploration Mission 1, or EM-1, and will send an uncrewed Orion capsule (which has already made one uncrewed test flight, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket) on a roughly three-week trip around the moon. The first crewed flight, EM-2, was originally scheduled to follow in 2021.

Source:NASA Won't Fly Astronauts On 1st Orion-SLS Test Flight Around the Moon
Also at:
NASA Study Warns Against Putting Crew On Huge Rocket's First Flight
NASA Denies Trump's Request to Send Astronauts Past the Moon on New Rocket

Previously: SpaceX to Fly Two Tourists Around the Moon in 2018
Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019

SpaceX might beat SLS to the moon with humans.


Original Submission

SpaceX Reveals Plan to Fly Yusaku Maezawa and Artists "Around the Moon" in a BFR 49 comments

During a press conference at his company's Hawthorne, CA headquarters, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the first planned private passenger to travel into deep space and around the Moon. Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire fashion entrepreneur and art collector, paid an undisclosed amount to become one of the first people to fly on a SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), with a target date of 2023. If the launch happens, he won't be going alone. Maezawa (aka "MZ") plans to invite at least six to eight artists to accompany him on a journey around the Moon. The passengers chosen may be painters, sculptors, musicians, fashion designers, dancers, film directors, architects, etc. and are intended to represent the Earth and participate in an art exhibition after returning to Earth. Musk himself has also been invited. The project is called #dearMoon.

Yusaku Maezawa approached SpaceX and made a contribution that will pay for a "non-trivial" amount of the BFR's development costs. During the Q&A, Musk estimated that the entire development of BFR would cost around $5 billion, or no less than $2 billion and no more than $10 billion. Other potential sources of funding for BFR development include SpaceX's top priority, Crew Dragon flights to the International Space Station (ISS), as well as satellite launches and Starlink satellite broadband service.

Maezawa (along with a guest) was a previously announced anonymous customer for a Falcon Heavy ride around the Moon. SpaceX currently has no plans to human-rate the Falcon Heavy. The switch from Falcon Heavy to BFR will substantially increase the maximum number of passengers and comfort level attainable on a nearly week-long mission, since the Crew Dragon 2 has a pressurized volume of just 10 m3, about 1% of the volume of the BFS.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @07:54AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @07:54AM (#472695)

    Accompanied by flying pigs.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 28 2017, @09:32AM (3 children)

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 28 2017, @09:32AM (#472707) Journal

    carrying the unnamed customers next year

    Please let it be Trump and Bannon, please let it be Trump and Bannon...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @10:30AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @10:30AM (#472720)

      Please let it be Hillary and Bill... and Nancy and Chuck...

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:25AM

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:25AM (#472728) Homepage Journal

        I figure it's Bill wanting to join the miles high club with Ivanka :)

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 2) by CoolHand on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:01PM

      by CoolHand (438) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:01PM (#472756) Journal

      carrying the unnamed customers next year

      Please let it be Trump and Bannon, please let it be Trump and Bannon...

      Think we can sneak Sessions onboard too? Maybe that would help destabilize the craft, yeah?

      --
      Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
  • (Score: 2) by deimios on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:56AM (2 children)

    by deimios (201) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:56AM (#472738) Journal

    Going there is the easy part. Do they also bring them back?

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by CoolHand on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:05PM (9 children)

    by CoolHand (438) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:05PM (#472759) Journal
    There are some funny comments on this story already. But seriously, this is a giant step toward fulfilling many of our childhood dreams. I grew up during the "space age" and reading science fiction where it was commonplace for everyone in society by the year 2000 to be flying on rocket ships. I thought I'd be flying around the moon on a regular basis by the time I was thirty years old. Alas, that did not come to fruition. However, with this first step, maybe it could happen for my grandchildren (assuming we don't all kill ourselves via environment or war first). I wish SpaceX well, along with their passengers (unless maybe they are some of the ones mentioned in previous comments, then it might be worth postponing the dream).
    --
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:53PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:53PM (#472907)

      But seriously, this is a giant step toward fulfilling many of our childhood dreams.

      But seriously, how many _people_ has SpaceX actually sent to space (just space and not Moon)? Half the nation calls bullshit, and SpaceX doubles up on their claims? How will they do it, with even more fistpumps, high-fives, bluetooth headsets and CGI? You delude yourself: the only "giant step" here is towards keeping you asleep, and dreaming.

      • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday February 28 2017, @08:33PM (3 children)

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday February 28 2017, @08:33PM (#473020) Journal

        Half the nation calls bullshit, and SpaceX doubles up on their claims? How will they do it, with even more fistpumps, high-fives, bluetooth headsets and CGI?

        Well, I'm going out on a bit of a limb here, but my guess is that they will do it using the FUCKING ENORMOUS SPACE ROCKETS they have been busy designing, building, testing, improving and generally dicking about with for the last decade or so.

        ust because they haven't put anyone into space yet doesn't mean they never will. They've succeeded in pretty much everything else they've attempted so far[1], there's no reason not to give them the benefit of the doubt here too.

        [1] With a few spectacular explosions along the way, but nobody ever said rocket science was easy

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 01 2017, @11:02AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 01 2017, @11:02AM (#473260)

          they will do it using the FUCKING ENORMOUS SPACE ROCKETS

          Oh yeah! FUCK*N Enormous GIANT ROCKETS!!!111!!

          Fistpump, highfives, fanboy-ism and CGI. Thank you for proving the point of the original AC post. Notice that you never actually see anything going to space, they all "switch to" CGI because "it is too far for the camera (in 2017, sure). All verified from who else, NASA. Well said man.

          There is no "benefit of doubt" here. Those people are scam artists, and are poisoning science's well with their crap. They need to get the f*ck out pronto.

          • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Wednesday March 01 2017, @03:47PM (1 child)

            by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Wednesday March 01 2017, @03:47PM (#473343) Journal

            Let me guess, the moon landings were faked too, right?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 01 2017, @05:29PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 01 2017, @05:29PM (#473405)

              the moon landings were faked too, right?

              Gee, [youtube.com]I don't know, [aulis.com] what do you think? [youtube.com]

              If thinking is too much right now, assume that "Sure they went. They just look like their DOG DIED in the debriefing interview for [enter_excuse_here], and not because they just fucking LIED to everybody" and see how well this jives with you.

      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday February 28 2017, @10:00PM (3 children)

        by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday February 28 2017, @10:00PM (#473067)

        Why not? Professional astronauts are expensive.
        A whole bunch of people are ready to die young on a one-way trip to Mars.
        SpaceX needs to prove their system is ready.
        Put both together:
        "Hey! We've got to try this new capsule eventually. Should I order space-grade crash dummies?"
        "Wait, we can get people to pay for that privilege, get better data, and more publicity! If they make it, they make history and we save a lot of testing. If they don't, they an be the first non-Russians to die in space, maybe the first to die away from LEO. Should be easy to find people. Win-win"

        > the only "giant step" here is towards keeping you asleep, and dreaming.

        Not as negative as you'd like it to sound.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:04PM (#473100)

          My thought too. Why send a chimp or a dog when you can send a couple of people stupid to actually PAY to be the dummies.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:07PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:07PM (#473103)

          I wonder how far they set back private manned spaceflight if they don't come back alive?

          • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:41PM

            by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday February 28 2017, @11:41PM (#473119)

            Depends a lot on whether they do come back dead.

            And also on how many pieces they are in, wherever they end up.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:18PM (#472766)

    The Dutch news asked various space experts about how feasible this is... they said 2018, not likely, but 2019-2020 should be doable. They base this mostly on the training and production of space suits and discuss as well some ways to work around that, but they say that would make the trip more risky. Also, they say SpaceX has no experience yet with manned flights. They expect SpaceX to postpone the flight by a few years, based on past announcements.

    http://nos.nl/artikel/2160540-als-toerist-naar-de-maan-kan-dat-al-in-2018-en-is-dat-wel-veilig.html [nos.nl]

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Justin Case on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:55PM (4 children)

    by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 28 2017, @01:55PM (#472774) Journal

    Serious guess: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

    Your guess?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:03PM (#472868)

      Not allowed by their life insurance companies. Same reasoning as top managers of multinationals not flying on the same plane.

      Besides that, those two together for a few days would spontaneously combust!

    • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:17PM (1 child)

      by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:17PM (#472883)

      My guess is a rich couple.

      (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more...)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @07:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @07:30PM (#472981)

        Why break one record when you can break two... and get laid in space?

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28 2017, @05:20PM (#472885)

      Two random venture capital names in Silicon Valley that nobody's heard of.

      I think your serious guess might not be so serious, but commenting on it: Musk has repeatedly expressed aversion to being one of the first to actually do somewhat risky things until SpaceX has reached its goal which is human settlement with supply ships playing back and forth from there and Earth. I put the chances of one of them being musk at just about 0. And Bezos similarly has shown a huge degree of envy and what seems to be jealousy of SpaceX's success relative to Blue Origin. I think there's 0 chance he'd be willing to go on, let alone pay for at large personal expense, a somewhat risky flight that will cement SpaceX's place in the history books.

      Actually, I think there is one person I could name (and many people have heard of) - Steve Jurvetson. He came to mind immediately. Checking his twitter, it was kind of interesting that he made a slightly out of character post about getting egged into skiing a double black diamond for the first time ever literally just an hour or two before SpaceX's announcement. Probably just a funny coincidence, but adds a tiny bit more salt to a name I would probably have already picked.

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