Pre-first tourism mission scheduled for the end of 2021. "This mission will forge a path to creating spaceflight attainable for all individuals who dream of it, and we're happy to work with the Space Adventures' crew on the mission", Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president, stated in a press release.
Here's the plan for the mission: After launching from Cape Canaveral in Florida, Dragon will spend five days free-flying in the galaxy at an altitude two to three times higher than the International Space Station (ISS), which is 254 miles above Earth's surface. After a gap of 12 years, Space Adventures also wants to send two more tourists to the ISS on board a Russian rocket in 2021.
It's not immediately clear what the cost of an orbital flight will set back each of the four tourists, or if SpaceX has even set the final price or merely taken deposits for the future trip.
While both the Crew Dragon and Starliner spacecraft feature fully autonomous flight control systems, station-bound NASA astronauts will have the ability to take over manual control if necessary. So far, the company has enabled spaceflights to and from the International Space Station aboard Russia's Soyuz rocket and spacecraft for seven private astronauts.
In the wake of a problematic unpiloted test flight last December, it is not known when Boeing will carry out its own piloted test flight or when seats might be available for private citizens. "Will attempt to reach 2-3x higher altitude than station", said Eric Anderson, founder of Space Adventures.
There's no word yet on how much a ticket will cost each passenger. NASA shriveled SpaceX to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS in the spacecraft after the Space Shuttle was once retired. Boeing is also developing a crew capsule called Starliner, meant to transport USA astronauts to the ISS, which could also send tourists into space.
Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.
Space Adventures, a booking agent, has partnered with SpaceX to sell the trips to the ISS.
SpaceX still has a couple of months before it's ready to put anyone inside one of its Crew Dragon capsules.
According to Space Adventures, the lucky four passengers will have to complete a few weeks of training beforehand to become rookie Buzz Aldrins.