That lunar vacation you've been looking forward to might not be as close as you think.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Elon Musk's SpaceX will not be moving forward with its plan to send two ordinary citizens to the moon and back sometime this year. The trip has been postponed until the middle of 2019, but it could extend even beyond that. Even with such a setback, the company is determined to follow through on its promise.
“SpaceX is still planning to fly private individuals around the moon and there is growing interest from many customers,” company spokesman James Gleeson confirmed over the weekend.
SpaceX announced the first manned trip to the moon since 1972 last February and many were excited that humans would not only be returning there for the first time in 45 years, but that it would be a private commerical venture rather than a public federal one. Mankind's destiny to colonize the cosmos seemed one step closer. Sadly, Musk and his pet space travel projects seem to be building up expectations only to dash them down again. Don't forget, he'd also like to land two cargo ships on Mars by 2022 in the hopes of setting up a base there.
However, the company has already predicted that it will see a 40 percent decrease in launches next year, due to the slow pace of manufacturing certain parts like large commercial-sized sattelites, writes WSJ.
Right now, there's just a Tesla Roadster, which once belonged to Musk, with a dummy in its driver's seat, floating out in space. The vehicle was launched into orbit back in February, the dummy (literally) payload of a Falcon Heavy rocket. However, there might be no need for the Heavy as SpaceX's Falcon 9, a smaller rocket, is also capable of achieving the same result without expending as much fuel.
The low demand/interest in the heavy stems from a simple misunderstanding of the technology, said SpaceX’s chief propulsion technology officer Thomas Mueller last month. In his own words: "People don’t think it’s serious enough yet to figure out how to use it."
Hopefully, Musk & Co. get back on track and are able to get regular folks to the moon and set up some lunar resorts that are akin to Futurama's Luna Park.