SpaceX on Thursday announced a new plan to launch a tourist around the Moon using its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a massive launch vehicle that is being designed to carry people into deep space. This is not the first time the company headed by Internet entrepreneur and Tesla electric car CEO Elon Musk has touted such plans.
“SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle — an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space,” the company said on Twitter.
No further details have been given. Last year in February, SpaceX announced that it would send the world’s first two space tourists around the Moon in late 2018. That plan called for them to ride on a Dragon crew vehicle, similar to the cargo ships that SpaceX routinely sends loaded with supplies to the International Space Station. They would have blasted off aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket. However, the company has remained quiet about those plans in recent months. The names and identities of those two tourists — and how much they intended to pay — were never revealed.
SpaceX is a key commercial partner to NASA, and is working on a crew ship that will make its first flight to the orbiting International Space Station next year, restoring access to space from US soil for the first time since 2011, when the space shuttle program was retired after 30 years. It currently has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the astronauts living at the ISS, via regular cargo trips on its Dragon spaceship, launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.