Last year in February 2017, Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced that it would launch two private citizens around the moon by 2018 [this year] in its second crewed mission on its Crew Dragon 2 capsule that was originally designed to carry crew members to the ISS and beyond. SpaceX published a blog on its website stating information about the crewed mission where two citizens who have reportedly paid ‘significant’ deposit already. However, the two individuals will have to wait untill 2019 since the trip has been postponed.
As there was no specific time scheduled for the launch of Crew Dragon 2 capsule aboard Falcon Heavy as earlier specified, it seems like it would get delayed even further citing the challenges the space company will have to tackle in order to launch a crewed mission to the Moon and back. James Gleeson from SpaceX confirmed the delay to Wall Street Journal and added that many customers have expressed their interest in private space flights in the future.
According to SpaceX’s blog post on February 2017, the Crew Dragon 2 capsule will be launched atop Falcon Heavy rocket which is the most powerful rocket currently in operational producing 2/3rd of thrust produced by NASA’s Saturn V rocket. The launch would take place from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral which is the same pad from where NASA launched all its Apollo programs for its lunar missions more than four decades ago.
This planned private space flight to the moon and back was a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program which allocated the funding to develop Crew Dragon 2 capsule while the internal funding from SpaceX helped the firm to develop its powerful Falcon Heavy rocket. SpaceX might soon start screening tests, fitness, and other tests on the two individuals and prepare them for their mission to the moon soon. SpaceX is long known for its ultimate goal to transport humans to Mars and build colonies for the inhabitants.