Privately crewed DRAGON SPACECRAFT to the Moon
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  • Description of the implementation
SpaceX announced a mission to send a pair of wealthy patrons around the moon by the end of 2018. Two private citizens, not astronauts, will fly in the Dragon 2 spacecraft, which will be launched by a Falcon Heavy rocket. Both the Dragon 2 capsule and the Falcon Heavy are still under development, and the first Falcon Heavy launch is expected sometime this summer (2017).

The two unnamed passengers "have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission," according to a SpaceX press release. They will go on a week-long spaceflight, taking them around the far side of the moon and back to Earth. The Dragon 2 spacecraft will be completely automated during the flight, although it is possible that the passengers will have to operate controls in the event of an emergency. SpaceX says the first two passengers are to begin fitness tests and training later this year, and more manned spaceflights on the Dragon 2 will follow in the years to come.

A number of things need to happen before SpaceX can launch two private citizens around the moon. First, the Dragon 2 spacecraft and Falcon Heavy rocket—which uses three Falcon 9 first stage boosters to achieve five million pounds of thrust—need to be completed. SpaceX also needs to launch the Falcon Heavy for the first time this summer and send an unmanned Dragon 2 capsule to the International Space Station later this year. If the private spaceflight company can achieve those goals, it might be in position to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, which it hopes to accomplish by the second quarter of 2018.

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Source: popularmechanics.com

Yet waiting for realization


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Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX)

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SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

SpaceX has gained worldwide attention for a series of historic milestones. It is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in December 2010. The company made history again in May 2012 when its Dragon spacecraft attached to the International Space Station, exchanged cargo payloads, and returned safely to Earth — a technically challenging feat previously accomplished only by governments. Since then Dragon has delivered cargo to and from the space station multiple times, providing regular cargo resupply missions for NASA.