In a press briefing Monday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced that a private mission around the moon is scheduled for 2018.
“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 company said in a press release.
Musk shared the press release on Twitter.
An unmanned test mission will be launched to the ISS. The second mission, which will include crew, is scheduled to fly in 2018.
“Once operational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA, SpaceX will launch the private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the moon and return to Earth,” SpaceX said.
Musk says the moon mission is designed to be autonomous — unless something goes wrong. SpaceX says the passengers would fly to the moon, but won’t land on it.
The launch will be made from Kennedy Space Center’s historic Pad 39A, which was used by the Apollo and shuttle programs.
Two people who know one another approached the company about sending them on a week-long flight just beyond the moon. Musk won’t identify the pair or the price tag. He says they’ve already paid a “significant” deposit.
If successful, it would be the first time humans have left Earth’s orbit in 45 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.