SpaceX signs up first private moon traveler

SpaceX books private passenger flight around the Moon

SpaceX first floated the idea of sending private people around the moon in early 2017, saying two people had "paid a significant deposit" for the mission. Musk responded with a Japanese flag emoji, suggesting the passenger is Japanese.

SpaceX, the private space exploration company that tests its rocket motors at its facility in McGregor west of Waco, has signed up a traveler for a flight to the moon.

Elon Musk's rocket company has signed up its first passenger for a flight around the moon, taking a giant leap towards commercialising space travel. Speculation swirled following the tweet, leading some to believe it might be SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

In 2009, space tourist Guy Laliberté flew to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz TMA-16, leaving from Kazakhstan.

SpaceX set up a livestream for the announcement, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT on Monday (9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. Tuesday GMT / 11 a.m. Tuesday AEST).

Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic LLC are among companies that are attempting to commercialize space travel.

Musk responded to questions from Twitter users following the announcement, saying that the rocket is still in development and has been "intentionally" created to resemble one seen in a classic comic book series, "The Adventures of Tintin".

SpaceX will send its first passenger around the Moon in a Big Falcon Rocket (seen in its original form).

Shortly after his successful Falcon Heavy Launch, Musk said he expected a "full-scale test" of the massive rocket within the next few years.

Its design was first presented almost a year ago, and the concept boasted a single system that included a booster and a ship that could travel to the moon and Mars. He called the goals at the time "aspirational". However the passengers were never named and the flight has yet to materialize. The window for launching to Mars occurs every two years.

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