SpaceX set to identify first paying passenger for trip aroound the moon

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

SpaceX set to identify first paying passenger for trip aroound the moon

It's not clear whether the BFR tourism mission has any link to an announcement SpaceX made in February 2017.

The announcement is being livestreamed, starting at 9 p.m. ET. You can also watch the stream in this story. And earlier this month, a video of Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whiskey on a popular podcast circulated on social media. His tweet of a Japanese flag emoji, fueled speculation that the mystery passenger is a Japanese businessperson.

Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA's Apollo program. The Apollo 13 planned moon landing was diverted due to an explosion on the spacecraft, and the three crew members were forced to instead fly by their intended target and return home. Last year, he said two paying tourists would circle the Moon in 2018, but those plans that did not materialize.

Tonight, Space X is planning to announce the first passenger who will fly around the moon aboard their new BFR rocket. Whoever it is, it's probably safe to assume that they are sufficiently wealthy to spend more money than we'll see in a lifetime on a (literally) out-of-this-world moon-shot vacation.

Musk, who is well-known for issuing overly ambitious schedules, said during a Q&A in March that he hoped to begin testing the spaceship portion of the BFR sometime in 2019.

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Musk says SpaceX has already built the first cylinder section of the BFR.

The BFR spacecraft's shape is reminiscent of the space shuttle, the bus-like U.S. spaceships that carried astronauts to space 135 times from 1981 to 2011. The BFR's principal goal is to carry settlers and their stuff to Mars, 100 passengers at a time. According to Musk, the spaceship could shuttle about 100 passengers to the red planet.

The system will eventually replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the Dragon spacecraft.

SpaceX's CEO is clearly chomping at the bit to reveal more information about the company's newest BFR iteration, hopefully now closing in on something close to what will actually enter production and begin flight testing.

SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell gave a more generous time frame for BFR's debut during a TED Talk in April, saying it would launch "within a decade".

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