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Space & Astronomy

SpaceX plans to send two people to the Moon

By T.K. Randall
February 28, 2017 · Comment icon 18 comments



Is mankind finally ready to return to the Moon ? Image Credit: NASA
The private space firm has revealed that it will be sending two people to the Moon as early as next year.
The mission, which was announced by CEO Elon Musk during a conference call with reporters on Monday, will be the first to see humans visiting the Moon in almost five decades.

According to Musk, the week-long trip will make use of the company's Dragon 2 capsule as well as its yet untested Falcon Heavy rocket. While there are no plans to actually land on the lunar surface, the trip will involve skimming across it on a journey that will cover up to 400,000 miles.

It isn't yet clear exactly who will be embarking on the mission, however the individuals in question have reportedly already paid a substantial sum of money comparable to that previously paid by tourists visiting the International Space Station.
The pair will receive training and undergo health and fitness tests in the near future.

"Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow," SpaceX said in a statement. "Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results."

It will certainly be interesting to see how this all pans out over the next couple of years.



Source: The Guardian | Comments (18)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
No one said it was too ambitious. What we said was, given SpaceX's recent problems the time scale of achieving this next year is too ambitious. Before telling people to get real maybe you should try and read what they actually said.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Derek Willis 6 years ago
How has the efficiency of rocket fuel increased by leaps and bounds? The vacuum specific impulse of the lox/liquid hydrogen J-2 engines used in the upper stages of the Saturn V was 420 sec. The vacuum specific impulse of the RS-25 engines used in the Space Launch System is 450 sec. That is an increase of only 6 percent, hardly a leap or a bound. In the case of the Falcon rockets used by Space-X, the lox/rp-1 Merlin engine has a sea level specific impulse of 280 sec. This compares to the F-1 engine used in the first stage of the Saturn V, which had a sea level specific impulse of 264 sec. Again... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by brizink 6 years ago
Too ambitious given recent problems? I wasn't saying that it was that feasable for SpaceX specifically, more or less NASA and the world's various public and private space agencies should have this capability. Of course SpaceX SHOULD have this capability, but I have to agree that they dont, but given the nature of this beast, it SHOULD be child's play. Additionally, if they can fly a rocket unmanned, they should have an easier time with a manned craft, mostly due to signal delay and radio frequency interference, which I don't care what encrypted signal frequency they use, there WILL be interfer... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by brizink 6 years ago
Given the lack of new materials and compunds, 6-15% in a craft that's considerably lighter is a leap and a bound when you factor the huge forces these rockets produce. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Derek Willis 6 years ago
It isn't a leap and a bound. The specific impulse of the V-2 engine designed in 1942 was 210 sec. Over the next twenty-five years that was doubled - that could perhaps be described as a leap and a bound. The propellant mass ratio of the V-2 was about 67%. By the 1960's mass ratio was approaching 90%, and that too could perhaps be described as a leap and a bound. But since then the increase in chemical and structural efficiency of rockets has been marginal, and they are now approaching the maximum possible. Chemical and mechanical systems are not like electronics. As Moore's Law has demonstrate... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Merc14 6 years ago
Interesting blog article and hopefully on topic based on where this thread has gone, comparing the RS-25 to the J2X. https://blogs.nasa.gov/J2X/2013/08/06/inside-the-leo-doghouse-rs-25-vs-j-2x/ Also another good article about the RS-25 https://blogs.nasa.gov/Rocketology/2015/08/13/rs-25-engines-meeting-the-need-for-speed/ https://www.cnet.com/news/nasa-tests-the-ferrari-of-rocket-engines-for-mission-to-mars/
Comment icon #15 Posted by Derek Willis 6 years ago
Thanks Merc, they were fascinating articles. Though I am not quite sure what I found most fascinating, the rocket engine technology or the fact there used to be a Miss NASA beauty pageant!
Comment icon #16 Posted by keithisco 6 years ago
Not going to happen next year. There is quite literally, no way that either the Heavy Lifter or Dragon will achieve Human Flight Certification in such a short timespan. The documentation alone will take 2 years to write assuming the review loops don't throw up any nasty surprises
Comment icon #17 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
Are these two individuals going alone without a seasoned astronaut?  Computer controls are great and reliable for the most part, but if it hits the fan a person is needed.  If these individuals are going alone then the time table is quite ambitious.  Are we at the point where "The Monkey throws the switch"?
Comment icon #18 Posted by Silent Trinity 6 years ago
Can those two people be Justin Bieber and Donald Trump? And could we arrange to leave them there? Lol seriously though a great step to take even if it is via a private contractor. I would have thought we would have perfected the journey for our official astronauts and it was a common place occurrence before allowing space tourists to take the same journey. I think it will be indeed one hell of a ride, but caution must be exercised I think.


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