SpaceX is Going to Launch Private Citizens into Space
A trip to outer space is only a few years away. Well, that’s if you’re lucky (or rich) enough to secure a spot on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. The company unveiled its plans to fly four privately-paying space tourists to orbit, giving four individuals the chance to “see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program” of the 1960s.
“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission,” SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement.
The trip will be brokers through Space Adventures, a company that has flown private citizens to the International Space Station using Russian spacecraft. SpaceX’s spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, is a capsule being developed for NASA. The Dragon is built to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, which has not been a capability for the U.S. for nearly a decade. The Crew Dragon will be used to launch its first NASA astronauts between April and June of this year.
As for the tourists, the mission is said to launch between “late-2021 to mid-2022” from Florida’s Cape Canaveral spaceport. The trip would last five days and would be known as a “free flyer,” meaning the spacecraft will not try to dock with the space station but instead orbit the Earth before returning. The mission will attempt to reach two to three times the altitude of the ISS, which currently orbits about 250 miles up from the Earth.
For those that may have their hopes up to finally experience the wonders of space, unless you have a cool $52 million, you can keep dreaming your astronaut dreams. While the financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, SpaceX had a deal last year with Bigelow Aerospace to fly individuals up to the ISS for that amount. Bigelow later withdrew from the arrangement, leading SpaceX to partner with Space Adventures to bring individuals the opportunity for a little space tourism.