Oct 12, 2022 - Science

World's first space tourist set to fly around the Moon with SpaceX

A SpaceX Starship in sunset.

A SpaceX Starship. Photo: SpaceX

Businessman Dennis Tito, the first-ever space tourist, has scored another trip to space — and this time he's going around the Moon with SpaceX.

Why it matters: SpaceX's ultimate goal is to make life multi-planetary by bringing about a future where humans are living on Mars and possibly deeper into the solar system.

  • These types of private missions allow the company to test the technology they see as key to creating that future.

What's happening: SpaceX announced today that Tito, 82, and his wife Akiko Tito will circle the Moon with 10 other, yet-to-be-named crewmembers on the third crewed flight of the company's Starship, designed for deep space exploration.

  • Tito's mission won't fly for years. It will launch after the Polaris flight expected to be the first crewed Starship launch and the dearMoon mission to orbit the Moon.
  • "Over the course of a week, Starship and the crew will travel to the Moon, fly within 200 km of the Moon’s surface, and complete a full journey around the Moon before safely returning to Earth," SpaceX said in a statement.
  • The Titos haven't said how much they're paying for the mission.

What to watch: Starship has yet to fly to orbit, but SpaceX is expected to launch its debut orbital flight at some point in the coming months from Texas.

  • From there, the company will launch uncrewed flights to try out the technology before eventually putting people onboard.
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