SpaceX, after predominantly working with resupply missions and other, heavily monitored ISS interactions, has finally made another concrete step toward space tourism. This time: to the Moon on a yet-unbuilt giant rocket.
According to The Verge, SpaceX says that it has signed its first customer up for a trip around the Moon’s orbit — though details are scant. While more info is coming on Sept. 17, what we do know a bit about is the rocket this mysterious passenger will be riding on.
The Big Falcon Rocket (you can definitely roll your eyes at that name), called the BFR for short, is a combination rocket and spaceship -- one large enough to boost 150 tons to a low Earth orbit thanks to 31 Raptor engines powering its main rocket. SpaceX debuted a new render of this planned ship on Twitter, with CEO Elon Musk confirming that the design was influenced by The Adventures of Tintin:
When asked about the passenger, Musk hinted that they would be from Japan:
Back last year, SpaceX was all-in on the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was its planned vehicle for a 2018 two-person Moon trip. That never happened, and now that the BFR has its first scheduled passenger, it likely never will. The BFR’s passenger may or may not be one of these original two, but this will become clear during the upcoming livestream.
Details on when exactly the flight would take place are scant — as is information on when exactly the BFR will be built. But elaborate planning and grand proposals have always been SpaceX’s way of doing things. With at least one person buying into their spaceflight schtick, they’re that much closer to making this monstrous rocket and its trip a reality.