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SpaceX to take two ‘customers’ to the moon and back in 2018

Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm has announced it will be taking two members of the public on a trip around the moon in late 2018.

The private space firm has received a significant deposit to take the passengers on a “long loop around the moon” in the yet-to-be-flown Dragon 2 craft, which was built to carry humans.

Related: How SpaceX plans to get to Mars

The two space tourists will be taking off from the iconic Kennedy Space Centre’s Pad 39A, which was used for the Apollo missions.

The 300-400,000 mile trip will take about a week, Musk said. “It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit further out into deep space.”

“We have been approached by private individuals,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a call with reporters on Monday. “This is a private mission with paying customers,” he added.

Musk said the private chartered flights combined with crewed missions could be “a significant driver of revenue” for SpaceX. He said there could be one or two of the missions a year that bring in up to 20% of the company’s revenues.

In a news release sent out on Monday, the company said: “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.”

How much do you think the private passengers have paid for their jaunt around the moon? Share your thoughts below.

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