Space X to announce who will fly around the moon

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

It's finally starting to feel a little more real as Musk and the company announced its first paying passenger on Monday.

The company said the flight represented "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space". His tweet of a Japanese flag emoji, fueled speculation that the mystery passenger is a Japanese businessperson.

While the trip is a fly-by, meaning that there will be no actual moon landing, this is still immensely significant. The BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) is being developed in a SpaceX facility at the Port of Los Angeles.

Regardless, today's update is bound to be revealing, both with respect to the future of BFR and the announcement of the customer for SpaceX's first lunar tourism mission. Twelve walked on the lunar surface. The rocket dubbed BFR has not been built so any flight presumably is at least several years away.

In an interview in March, Musk said the ship was now being built, adding "I think we'll probably be able to do short flights, short sort of up-and-down flights, probably sometime in the first half of next year".

Early Monday, he tweeted out two images of the BFR space craft that will be taking this mysterious passenger into the moon's outer orbit.

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

Read everything we know about the BFR and its spaceship design here.

Going to the Moon could be far quicker.

With SpaceX, Amazon.com (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, the SpaceX passenger will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels.

Virgin's trip will cost about $250,000.

Russian and Chinese companies are also working on space tourism plans.

Musk touched on one of his favorite themes, a call for humanity to become a multi-planetary civilization, as he kicked off the announcement. The window for launching to Mars occurs every two years.

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