WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- SpaceX and Space Adventures announced that they will start to bring tourists high into Earth’s orbit aboard a Crew Dragon capsule in 2021.
- The destination is not the ISS because it’s going to be a “free-flying” mission, orbiting the Earth.
- Space Adventures will coordinate with private citizens wishing to join the trips but there’s no word yet on how much a ticket will cost.
SpaceX and the space tourism company Space Adventures announced this morning that they will begin to ferry tourists high into Earth’s orbit aboard a Crew Dragon capsule in the next year.
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell announced the partnership on Tuesday morning.
“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,” she said in a joint statement with Space Adventures.
Space Adventures, which was founded in 1998, will coordinate with private citizens seeking to take the trips. The company previously launched seven tourists to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Russia’s Soyuz rockets. The next batch of spacefaring private citizens will join the ranks of Microsoft co-founder Charles Simonyi and Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist.
The crew will not dock with the ISS, and will instead embark on a “free-flying” mission, orbiting Earth. SpaceX said it will launch up to four passengers higher into Earth’s orbit than ever before.
According to Space Adventures’ statement, the crew will sail to an altitude two or three times that of the ISS by late 2021 to mid-2022 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Base in Florida.
“Honoring our combined histories, this Dragon mission will be a special experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity—capable of reaching twice the altitude of any prior civilian astronaut mission or space station visitor,” Space Adventures’ chairman Eric Anderson said in the statement.
SpaceX has been developing its Crew Dragon capsule for NASA’s Commercial Crew mission, which aims to launch NASA astronauts to the ISS aboard American-made rockets.
The company said earlier this year it will conduct the first crewed test of its Crew Dragon capsule, sending NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS sometime between May and June. Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft—which has been plagued by challenges, including a number of software errors—also has a Commercial Crew contract.
There’s no word yet on how much a ticket will cost each passenger. At the time of publication, Space Adventure’s website was down. Here’s hoping that’s not a harbinger of things to come.
Source: Yahoo! News