SpaceX to Announce 1st Private Passenger for BFR Mission to the Moon

Artists rendition of SpaceX BFR rocket intended to send 1st
private passenger on a mission around the Moon. Credit: SpaceX
Ken Kremer 
  
SpaceUpClose.com     15 September 2018

CAPE CANAVERAL,
FL –  SpaceX announced they will reveal
the name of the first private passenger who will fly to the Moon on the firm’s
BFR rocket currently under development, in a short email sent out to media late
Thursday, September 13.  



The big reveal
will be made by none other than Elon Musk, the CEO and billionaire founder of
SpaceX during a live event to be webcast Monday evening, September 17, 9 p.m.
EDT, 6 p.m. PDT.


The announcement involves “the World’s First Private
Passenger to Fly Around the Moon Aboard BFR,” said SpaceX.

BFR, which stands
for ‘Big Falcon (or you name it) Rocket, is SpaceX’s new Saturn V class heavy
lift rocket that’s currently under development and not flown and is intended to
send humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond sometime in the next decade.  
This is a significant
change from earlier plans announced by Elon Musk about 18 months ago to much
fanfare when he said in Feb 2017 that two private paying passengers – whose names
were not revealed – would launch in a Crew Dragon atop the Falcon Heavy rocket by
late 2018.
Earlier this
year, Musk cancelled that intended lunar Falcon Heavy mission, which finally
flew on its maiden mission in February of this year from Launch Complex 39A at
the Kennedy Space Center.  Falcon Heavy
will not be human rated he added. 
“It looks like BFR
development is moving quickly, and it will not be necessary to qualify Falcon
Heavy for crewed spaceflight,” Musk said during Falcon Heavy media briefing with
reporters. “We kind of tabled the Crew Dragon on Falcon Heavy in favor of
focusing our energy on BFR.”



Launch of SpaceX Falcon Heavy on debut test
flight from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on
Feb. 6, 2018.  Credit: Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com


The Crew Dragon
has not yet flown but the maiden unpiloted mission is currently slated for late
November.
“SpaceX has signed the
world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch
vehicle—an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream
of traveling to space,” SpaceX tweeted.
“Find out who’s flying
and why on Monday, September 17.



The timing, cost, length,
trajectory and many other details are not known at this time. For example whether
it will brake into orbit around the Moon or simply loop around it. 
In a follow up tweet
SpaceX reminded everyone that “
Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in
history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972.”
The event is open to
media.
 

It will be held “at
SpaceX’s headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California on Monday,
September 17 where SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk will announce the
world’s first private passenger scheduled to fly around the Moon aboard
SpaceX’s BFR launch vehicle.”  

Watch the webcast here:


https://www.spacex.com/webcast

SpaceX also released a graphic
showing the crewed vehicle which looks remarkably like a NASA space shuttle and
is also quite different from earlier renditions.
 
The artwork shows 7
engines firing at the rear with shuttle like wings at the back and winglets and
windows at the front.
The two stage BFR is designed
to be fully reusable and stand 350 feet tall. The first stage is to be equipped
with powerful Raptor engines.

No much is really known about
the design and development and costs of the BFR.
 
Responding
to a twitter question asking “
Is that render a new version
of BFR??
Musk simply replied “Yes” on twitter. 
NASA’s Apollo 17 was the
last human mission to launch to the Moon in 1972 with two NASA astronauts
making three EVA spacewalks on the lunar surface.

NASA is developing the Space
launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket and Orion deep space crew capsule to send
Americans back to the Moon.
The first piloted Orion
is slated for launch on SLS in 2022 NASA officials told Space UpClose in an interview
last week at the Kennedy Space Center. 
Watch for Ken’s
continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
Orbital ATK and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space
Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility,
Virginia.


Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human
spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com
–www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
………….


Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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