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Two private customers to go beyond moon with Musk's SpaceX

Staff Writer | February 27, 2017
SpaceX will launch a crewed mission beyond the moon for two private customers, the company said.
Elon Musk
Exploration   A private mission with paying customers
SpaceX expects the mission to take place some time in late 2018, after it sends a crewed NASA Dragon craft to the International Space Station.

"We have been approached by private individuals," said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, on a call with reporters on Monday.

"This is a private mission with paying customers, who have placed significant deposits," Musk said, but added that they have so far not authorized the company to reveal their names.

The mission will use one of SpaceX's Dragon capsules, which will be modified to allow communications in deep space.

Musk said it would be roughly the cost of a crewed mission to the International Space Station, and that other flight crews have already expressed interest in later flights.

The mission would "do a long loop around the moon" and would take about a week.

"It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit further out into deep space" and then return to Earth, Musk said.

"There is some risk here," he said, and added that the hopeful passengers are not "naive" about the dangers. SpaceX will begin holding health and fitness tests later this year.