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SpaceX Shoots for the Moon, Aims to Send Two Private Citizens Around the Moon in 2018

SpaceX-Falcon-Iridium

SpaceX, the ambitious private space project launched (heh) by Elon Musk in 2002 seems to be finally in a position where they can literally shoot for the moon. Just last night, they announced plans to send up a pair of private citizens on a trip around the moon in 2018. The launch will use the Falcon Heavy rocket in conjunction with their Dragon spacecraft to send the two citizens (who have already been selected and “paid a significant deposit,” according to Space.com), on an out-and-back trip.

SpaceX issued a statement on the project, writing:

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.

Truth be told, the comparison to the Apollo astronauts feels apt. It’s, as I’ve already said, one hell of an ambitious project. SpaceX has their work cut out for them, as they have to not only ensure the safety and reliability of their technology, but now they have to thoroughly vet and certify two actual human beings for real space travel. Up until this point, many of SpaceX’s test flights have been unmanned, controlled remotely from an off-site location. When the Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launchpad last September, it was thought to be a pretty big setback for the program.

That apparently didn’t set them back too much, as here they are now, with a clearer view of what they want their next year to look like.

Personally, I’m hoping SpaceX pulls this off. Sure, private space travel will be wildly, unaffordably expensive, but I figure if I start saving now, I’ll be able to fly sometime before 2050. Maybe. Here’s hoping. (Are you listening, SpaceX?)

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