Fly me to the moon - okay, says Elon Musk


SpaceX will hold the identity of its passenger from the public until Monday, September 17th.

Elon Musk's rocket company signed up its first passenger for a flight around the moon, taking a giant leap toward commercializing space travel - at least in terms of consumer demand. SpaceX has invested almost $1 billion into the 27-engine rocket.

Few details have been revealed so far, save an icon of a Japanese flag in a cryptic tweet from Musk, and the promise of a passenger name on Monday.

SpaceX started talking about a crewed moon mission previous year, and as usual, it claimed a very ambitious timeline.

Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson, is also working on developing commercial spacecraft to provide "suborbital spaceflights to space tourists", according to its website. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos's space venture, has plans to start selling tickets for suborbital space trips in 2019, with tickets expected to cost more than $200,000.

Back a year ago, SpaceX was all-in on the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was its planned vehicle for a 2018 two-person Moon trip. But Musk has broad ambitions for SpaceX and the BFR.

The Falcon Heavy debuted one year after that announcement was made.

Popular Mechanics speculates the first BFR test flights aren't likely to happen until the mid- to late-2020s, and it will be even longer before the rocket starts carrying people.

He introduced the BFR, composed of a rocket and spaceship, in 2017, saying it was aimed at allowing people to colonise Mars and that the company wanted to land two cargo ships on the Red Planet in 2022. He called the goals at the time "aspirational". However the passengers were never named and the flight has yet to materialize.