SpaceX announces plans to send two people around the moon in 2018

"I think this should be a really exciting mission that I hope gets the world really excited about sending people into space next year", Musk said. Musk believes these private missions could be a "significant driver of revenue" for the company and expects to have at least one or two a year, possibly making up 10 percent to 20 percent of SpaceX revenue.

Musk said the company would launch its Dragon 2 spacecraft on top of a Falcon Heavy rocket and that the two passengers would be flying solo, without the assistance of professional astronauts.

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The mission would take approximately a week, as the rocket loops around the moon into deep space and returns to earth, a distance of approximately three to four hundred thousand miles. Initial training, along with health and fitness tests, will occur later this year, SpaceX said.

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In an out-of-the-blue announcement, the Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX revealed their plans to send two private citizens around the moon in 2018. SpaceX added that "other flight teams have also expressed a strong interest, and we expect more to follow". Currently, the uncrewed version transports supplies to the International Space Station. The manned mission is scheduled for the second quarter of 2018. The first mission will not have people on board. SpaceX has had extraordinary success and failure in the a year ago.

There's no set date for the launch yet, and SpaceX does have a history of running behind schedule.

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The panel was constituted after the Apollo 1 fire tragedy in 1967 in which three astronauts were killed during a countdown test. It will launch an Orion space capsule on a route that would take it around our celestial neighbor and then back to Earth.

SpaceX said Dragon spacecraft has been created to carry humans from the beginning.

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