Is SpaceX turning into a tourism agency?

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SpaceX announces its second tourist flight to the Moon, for a total of three missions pending schedule (since everything depends on the construction of Starship). This time it is the entrepreneur Dennis Tito and his wife Akiko who will take place on board the huge ship. The couple did not say if they plan to take the trip alone or if they will sell seats to friends or VIPs.

In September 2018, SpaceX had already announced a tourist flight around the Moon aboard Starship as part of the “DearMoon project”. The flight will take billionaire and art collector Yūsaku Maezawa, two pilots and up to 8 guests – all accomplished artists – on a journey that will last a total of six days.

Apparently SpaceX is OK with organizing sightseeing flights to the Moon, if requested

These two flights are in addition to the first manned flight of the rocket under development as part of the Artemis mission of NASA and its international partners. This is not Dennis Tito’s first spaceflight. In fact, since 2001, he has even been the first “space tourist” since he flew aboard the Soyuz TM-32 mission on April 28, 2001 to reach the international space station.

After 7 days, 22 hours and 4 minutes, the billionaire returned to Earth aboard the Soyuz TM-31 mission. But since then, he had only one dream: to start over with an even more ambitious mission. And it is precisely Elon Musk who gave him the opportunity. A year and a half ago, Dennis and his wife Akiko visited SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California.

Towards the end of the visit, Dennis and Akiko discussed with SpaceX officials the possibility of performing a flight around the Moon: “we both wanted to go”, remembers Akiko Tito, quoted by Ars Technica. SpaceX accepted (the total price of the trip remains a closely guarded secret at this stage) and they then signed the contract. Of course, the date of the trip also remains the big unknown, since Starship has yet to demonstrate its capabilities during its first orbital flight.

If this flight takes place, Dennis Tito would become the oldest astronaut to take place in a mission (even if the goal is purely touristic). Dennis Tito has just celebrated his 82nd birthday. Astronaut John Glenn remains to this day the oldest person to be launched into space. John Glenn spent more than 9 days aboard the space shuttle in 1998 – he was 77 years old at the time.

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