Tuesday, February 28, 2017

$100 Million US Per Seat: Elon Musk Already Has Two Super-Rich Astronauts Ready To Take The Giant Risk And Fly Around The Moon!!!

SpaceX plans to fly private astronauts round the moon Elon Musk aims to launch first such trip out of earth’s orbit before end of next year Read next Fast FT SpaceX plans to send two people around the moon in 2018 ‘Man on the Moon’ by Dani Caxete, from the 2016 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London © Dani Caxete Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Email3 Save YESTERDAY by: Richard Waters in San Francisco Elon Musk raised the bar again for private space flight on Monday, as his SpaceX rocket company said it planned to fly two private individuals around the moon before the end of next year. If successful, it will be the first trip by private astronauts out of earth’s orbit, and the first time since 1972 that anyone has made it around the moon. However, SpaceX has yet to even carry out a test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket that would be needed for the trip, or the Dragon 2 capsule that would carry the astronauts. Mr Musk has made a career of setting hugely ambitious deadlines at SpaceX and for his electric car company, Tesla, only to see the dates slip. SpaceX’s customers have generally stuck by it despite the setbacks, though satellite company Intelsat switched a contract to a rival launch company last year because of delays with the Falcon Heavy. SpaceX said two unnamed individuals had approached it about making the flight and paid “a significant deposit” for a trip around the moon. The launch plan points to a timetable that would put SpaceX ahead of Space Adventures, a space tourism company that has been trying for years to get a lunar trip off the ground. Space Adventures some years ago set a price of $150m for a seat on its proposed trip. SpaceX did not disclose how much it would charge, but Richard Rocket, chief executive of NewSpace Global, which researches the private space industry, said it was likely to cost a minimum of $100m a seat to mount such a mission. Related article SpaceX reaches for the stars and back again The technology behind the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket The first test flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket is scheduled for this summer, with the Dragon capsule set to take its first, unmanned trip to the International Space Station before the end of the year. SpaceX hopes to launch its first humans into space in the second quarter of 2018, under a contract with Nasa to get supplies and astronauts to the ISS. “I’m wondering how they’re about to go from having yet to get anyone to the International Space Station to sending two astronauts around the moon,” said Mr Rocket. Mr Musk “has never been afraid to announce deadlines and miss them”, he added. A launch-pad explosion last September for its existing Falcon rocket was the latest setback for the company’s plans to achieve a regular launch schedule with several rockets a month blasting off for space. It has returned to flight this year with two successful launches. The ambitious goal for reaching the moon echoes Mr Musk’s tactic of using attention-grabbing targets to galvanise support for his projects, even if his original timetables end up slipping. Last September he caused a stir when he laid out a timetable to get astronauts to Mars by 2025. The same effect has been apparent at Tesla, which has been able to maintain a fanatical Wall Street following despite delays in hitting its production targets. Tesla is about to face its biggest test of all, with Mr Musk promising to boost its vehicle production to 500,000 in 2018, from fewer than 100,000 in 2016.  

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