SpaceX has announced plans to fly two private citizens to the moon in 2018.
It would be the first time humans have entered deep space in 45 years.
The company, founded by Tesla chief executive and former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk, revealed its plans during a press conference on Tuesday morning.
The two space tourists, who the company did not name, will fly around the moon on SpaceX’s Dragon human spacecraft.
They approached SpaceX about the trip and will be the only people onboard, the company said.
“They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission,” SpaceX 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.”
The trip around the moon is expected to take about one week, skim the surface of the moon, then venture further out into deep space before returning back to Earth, The Verge reported.
The mission is planned for the second quarter of next year and will also use SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
“Falcon Heavy is due to launch its first test flight this summer and once successful, will be the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket,” the company said.
“Later this year, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, we will launch our Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station.
“This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board.
“A subsequent mission with crew is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2018. SpaceX is currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew.”
“By also flying privately crewed missions, which NASA has encouraged, long-term costs to the government decline and more flight reliability history is gained, benefiting both government and private missions.”