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Published: Tue, February 28, 2017
Entertainment | By Alexander Flowers

SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon

SpaceX plans to send two people around the Moon

Elon Musk, the brash inventor and founder of SpaceX, has just announced he plans to send private citizens on a trip around the moon next year.

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. Musk said they expect to conduct fitness testing and begin initial training for those embarking on the mission later this year.

"This is a really exciting thing that's happened", Elon Musk told reporters at a press conference. He wouldn't say who will make the flight, or how much they're paying, only that it was "nobody from Hollywood".

The crew will be on board the Falcon Heavy during the fueling process, but Musk said he does not think this should be a concern.

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Musk says SpaceX is on track to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in mid-2018. Dragon 2, he said, is designed as an autonomous vehicle. Other flight teams have already expressed interest in going on future trips.

The most recent news for SpaceX came in the form of a Government Accountability Office report that outlined several concerns NASA had with SpaceX regarding the development of its commercial crew capsule. Instead, it'll fly in automatic mode, and then - assuming all goes to plan - be followed by a crewed mission in the second quarter of 2018. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board.

The craft will lift off from Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A - the launch pad used by the Apollo program for its lunar missions, Musk said.

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