SpaceX is going to become the first private company to send humans around the moon orbit. It is sending two private citizens who approached the company with the proposal of sending them on a trip around the moon. The trip is expected to be in late next year. Lift-off will be from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral – the same launch pad used by the Apollo program for its lunar missions.
SpaceX is going to conduct health and fitness tests as well as initial training starting later this year. As of yet, there is no mention of who are going to the lunar orbit but it is believed that after the results of the health and fitness tests necessary for their approval are completed, we would know about them.
Dragon crew module and Falcon Heavy rocket are two main components of the moon mission.
Dragon also has the mantle of being the first commercial spacecraft which successfully delivered cargo to ISS(International Space Station) and returned safely. Dragon till date has only been used for cargo purposes but according to SpaceX, it was designed from the very beginning keeping in mind about human crews. The crew specific version is being developed under an agreement between SpaceX and NASA under the NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Falcon Heavy under development in SpaceX when operational will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world. It will have the capability to put into orbit payloads of over 54 metric tonnes which is second only to Saturn V rocket which last flew in 1973. To give a sense of its capability, 54 metric tonnes is a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel.
SpaceX was founded in 2002 by its present CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk to revolutionize the space industry with the ultimate goal of enabling people to be able to live on other planets.