WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - American space manufacturing and transportation services firm SpaceX said it signed the world's first private passenger to circumnavigate the Moon aboard its rocket. The company said it will reveal the identity of the tourist on Monday.
'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. Find out who's flying and why on Monday, September 17,' Spacex said on its official Twitter handle.
The California-based company, headed by Elon Musk, first announced the lunar tour plans in February, 2017.
Spacex said two private citizens have paid 'a significant deposit' for a trip around the moon late next year. But no follow-up news was heard from them since then.
Spacex originally planned to take the lunar tourists aboard its Crew Dragon capsule, a towering spacecraft atop a Falcon Heavy rocket booster. Falcon Heavy rocket is the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit.
But Musk later said SpaceX had no plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight, and instead, would focus on the Big Falcon Rocket to reduce costs.
Spacex had plans to conduct trial Crew Dragon missions without people on board.
SpaceX will launch the private lunar mission from Kennedy Space Center's historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral - the same launch pad used by the Apollo program for its lunar missions. This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time since the final Apollo mission in 1972, and they will travel faster this time.
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