Feb 272017


SpaceX to Send Privately Crewed Dragon Spacecraft Beyond the Moon Next Year

We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission. Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration. We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.

If the Space Race comes back, and it turns out to be an ongoing race between Public and Private *American* programs…. why, that would make me… Hmmm. What’s the word I’m thinking of? It’s a word I don’t use often because I don;t have much use for it. Something like… hoppy? Harppy? Hooppy? Something like that.

However, let’s just say that I’m  just a weee tad bit skeptical that SpaceX can go from “we’ve never launched a human nor a Falcon 9 Heavy” to “We used a Falcon 9 Heavy to send humans around the moon” in less that two years. But if they can… hmmm. Happers? Something…



 Posted by at 4:49 pm
  • Bob

    Wish I had the money to go.

  • Paper Kosmonaut

    You mean hapless? (-:
    It nevertheless is an awesome challenge. Beating the SLS EM-1 mission would give “new space” a nice head start from NASA. I’ll follow this with interest. I think the steep learning curve SpaceX uses with all its missions might make for a nice surprise.

    • Scottlowther

      > You mean hapless?

      Naw, I’m familiar with hapless. Many’s the time I’ve found myself utterly devoid of hap.

      • Adam

        Hopey? Hüppßy? Man, I think I’m on the right track! Hämpfen! It’s gotta be that last one!

        • Herp McDerp

          Scott would be one hoopy frood. One of the hoopiest, in fact.

          • CaptainNed

            But does he know where his towel is?

  • Jason Miller

    Based on SpaceX’s track record, I’d bet that they’ll do it, but not within the announced timeframe.

    • Scottlowther

      This would not surprise me.

  • B-Sabre

    Shades of the R-100/R-101 saga…


    • se jones

      And shades of Craig Venter’s $300,000,000 Celera Genomics running circles around the US Government’s $3 billion publicly funded project to sequence the human genome.

  • thingytest 3

    The 50th anniversary of Apollo 8 is coming up next december.

  • Adam

    Wow…This is one heck of a promise. However I have been deeply impressed with SpaceX’s proven ability to make incredible developments within a very short amount of time so if anybody can do it, it’s them. Man, this is just what America needs to rejuvenate our position as the world’s dominant superpower.

    • Brianna

      No, what we need to rejuvenate our position as the world’s dominant superpower is sound government finances and a president/polity who is actually willing to follow through on foreign policy threats/actions (I don’t like wars either, but if you pull out before they’re done you get ISIS and a lot of international chaos).

      Sorry to be a killjoy. I actually am pleased that SpaceX is trying this. I just don’t think anyone should mistake “look some Americans are doing cool stuff” for “the American government is strong and fiscally sound.”

  • Herp McDerp

    One thing isn’t clear to me from what I’ve read: Will this be the first flight of a Falcon 9 Heavy? The second? (They have a crewed Earth-orbit mission scheduled for next year.) The third? (With an unmanned test first?)

    If it’s the first flight of a Falcon 9 Heavy, I’d pass on the opportunity if someone offered me a seat.

    I once ignored some very good advice about not buying the first model-year of a GM car. I learned my lesson …

    • se jones

      >the first model-year of a GM car

      Or any model-year.

  • Kelly Starks

    But wait theirs more!! They also say they will put the first people on Mars in 2020! So given a 18 moth flight time to mars. They need to develop:
    – the ability to put people in space,
    – a ultra heavy booster,
    – multi launch with multiple flights of the new booster a huge ship to carry people to Mars
    – a booster to launch the new ship toward Mars orbit
    – a Mars lander (no a Dragon can’t).

    And all of that must be done in 2 years (not enough time to actually test ship systems for a flight worth of time), while fixing the defects that have trashed their projected launch schedule and blown up a few boosters.
    And fix their quality problems to not just kill everyone.
    And the folks to the Moon mission announced yesterday.

    • se jones

      “…put the first people on Mars in 2020”

      No. The “Red Dragon” SpaceX is sending to Mars in 2020 is a test pathfinder, uncrewed robotic lander. This is the first of a series of robotic landers based on “Red Dragon”.

      Pay attention Kelly.

      • Kelly Starks

        I was hearing they were boasting Maned landing, though I did hear it from anyone with references.
        Landing a red dragon is iffy enough.

        • se jones

          You were “hearing” it?
          I don’t understand frankly. You must have more than a passing interest in aerospace, or else you wouldn’t have gone to up-ship The Unwanted Blog ROCKETS, CATS, AIRCRAFT, GUNS, POLITICS…

          How on earth can you shoot off your mouth about SpaceX’s Mars plans without first going to the SpaceX web site?

          “…given a 18 moth flight time to mars”
          No, transfer is about 6 to 9 months

          “…a Mars lander (no a Dragon can’t)
          Actually it *can*. The key technology, supersonic retropulsion, has been demonstrated 10 times now by Falcon 9.

          Maybe it’s the cats that brung ya.

          • Kelly Starks

            >…How on earth can you shoot off your mouth about SpaceX’s Mars
            > plans without first going to the SpaceX web site?
            Just read the article. Their stated plans, and info on their site is often BS, so I don’t rely on them. Though I should have checked this.

            >> “…given a 18 moth flight time to mars”

            >No, transfer is about 6 to 9 months

            Crap, I did look that up and didn’t copy the normal Hoeman Transfer Orbit time to Mars (about 260 days or 9 months) .

            >> “…a Mars lander (no a Dragon can’t)

            > Actually it *can*. The key technology, supersonic retropulsion,
            > has been demonstrated 10 times now by Falcon 9.

            In theory if you had a retro booster with enough delta-V to deorbit and land with little atmosphere braking needs, yes. No one has any system that can do this with a system big enough to carry folks.
            Its a big issue for JPL, and their have been some papers on the problem given aerobraking has kinda reached its limits. the Mars air doesn’t go high enough, or is thick enough, to slow down a bigger reentry craft before you hit the ground.

          • se jones

            >enough delta-V to deorbit and land
            What? You don’t need to “deorbit”

            Since you’re not too good at research, reading and comprehension, here are some videos for you.

            Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT)
            If you paid attention, you’d recognize this as Bob Zubrin’s choice for Mars Direct landers.

            Cambridge PhD Candidate Ryan MacDonald explains Red Dragon. The schedule is running behind, otherwise Ryan’s talk is still valid.

            HIAD-2 (Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator) another technology now in flight test.

            Magnitoshell. Soon to be in flight test, magnitoshells are the future:
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f07415a7ab50e2e543b5e381f54 6f4bf1f4708ba6c939c9cfccde7baca129e00.jpg

          • publiusr

            “You were “hearing” it? ”

            She may have meant this page:

            Now, Bloom is known for being on Coast-toCoast AM–so there’s that.

            A blurb from the article:

            “Neither the SLS nor the Orion are able to land on the Moon. Let me repeat that. Once these pieces of super-expensive equipment reach the moon’s vicinity, they cannot land.”

            And neither can Dragon or Falcon. Both are circumlunar thumps–Zond missions.

            But this is as small an SLS as we can see. A Block II can do a Saturn mission–and it has better shroud volume–that is what I am interested in: http://aviationweek.com/space/sls-rocket-could-help-scientists-answer-big-questions

            That and it uses hydrogen–which seems to scare Space X.

            Now, I can see a 1.5 Griffin style mission with Falcon and SLS launching an Altair–so there’s that.

            I want an SLS version of the Lunar Exploration Systems for Apollo (LESA),


            Volume matters.

          • se jones

            Err umm nope, there’s no implication even there that SpaceX is or was planning on putting a crew in a Red Dragon in 2020 or 2022.

            Bloom? Really? How sad, Scientific American is just a pale shadow of a once great publication.

  • Nick Gaston

    Gizmodo’s report on this? “SpaceX Wants to Fly Two Bourgies Around the Moon Next Year”

    Yow. And you should see some of the bile on the Facebook post—snark about the chances of success to genuine outrage that someone’s using their own fortune to try it.

    “The meek do inherit the earth, but they tend to inherit very small plots, about six feet by three.”

    • Peter Hanely

      Is that what they’re calling wealthy people spending Their Own Money on something they find interesting?

      • Nick Gaston

        I think it’s what people who spend more at Starbucks than I make in a month
        call the Enemies of the Proletariat.

    • publiusr

      Great quote.

  • John Nowak

    Whoever wins, we all win.

  • Herp McDerp

    I doubt that they have enough money to buy tickets on Musk’s ride, but I wonder if these are the two people?


  • Michael the Somewhat Civilized

    If SpaceX gets close to it, the Feds may come up some new restrictions.

    • Kelly Starks

      Wouldn’t need to. They could just suggest reconsidering the commercial; crew and COTS contracts given SpaceX’s high failure rates, and over extended financial situation. Unnerve investors that SpaceX cash cow could be turning its back on them, and they might bail rapidly given SpaceX red ink bath.

      The feds have crushed bigger companies and more blatently.

      • Bob

        Destination Moon.

        • Kelly Starks

          In Destination moon the industrialists were self funding their effort (and the feds weren’t trying hard to stop them), SpaceX is mostly gov funded. So the Gov wouldn’t need to openly send out the sheriffs – just stop sending the checks. 😉

  • Bibidiboop

    This will make Virgin Galactic look like underachieving doofuses. Too bad, they were quite inspirational early on.

  • se jones

    So *THAT’S* why Musk is all interested in the Moon now…

    Congressional candidate: Moon-colonizing companies could destroy cities by dropping rocks

    Brianna Wu, a Dem, claims that Moon valuable militarily because rocks ‘have power of 100s of nuclear bombs’