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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.

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  • (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.

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  • (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.