After breathtaking vision of Mars colonization presented during International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara on 27 September 2016, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX gave us only a short break. Now it seems that it was only calm before storm.
Plans for upcoming SpaceX’s lunar mission were announced on February 27, 2017 during call with reporters. Elon Musk announced, that SpaceX is planning first commercial manned mission to Moon. Two astronauts will fly on Dragon 2 (manned version of Dragon spacecraft) around the Moon in fourth quarter 2018. Spacecraft will be lifted by Falcon Heavy rocket.
Elon Musk also declared, that SpaceX already has decided who will fly inside Dragon 2. Two volunteers for flight were already chosen – they will start their mission from Florida inside Dragon 2 spacecraft. Dragon 2 will be launched on the top of the Falcon Heavy rocket; mission will last around week and covers reaching distance of 640 000 km from Earth.
It was not announced how deep modifications of Dragon2 and Falcon heavy will be necessary for this mission, but Elon Musk admitted that both vehicles will differ from original constructions.
Both astronauts are Customers of SpaceX, who sign up and left significant deposit to secure payment in future. Their names were yet not unveiled. According to Elon Musk cost of single seat of Dragon 2 is similar to cost of single seat inside Soyuz spacecraft launched to International Space Station.