SpaceX and space tourism agency Space Adventures are partnering on a mission to send four private citizens into orbit on a pioneer excursion, the companies said Tuesday.
The announcement comes after SpaceX sent their Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for the first time in March 2019 and then successfully tested a simulated rocket failure on Jan. 19, proving its preparedness to send people into orbit with Space Adventures.
"This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission," Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
The trip will be the first space tourism experience for private citizens using entirely American-made technology, the release said.
The only other space tourism experience to send private citizens into orbit was performed by the Russian Space Agency in conjunction with Space Adventures. The RSA plans to partner with Space Adventures again to send to citizens into space in 2021, according to a Feb. 19, 2019, statement from Russian space agency Roscosmos.
"Creating unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space is why Space Adventures exists," Space Adventures Chairman Eric Anderson said in a statement. "From 2001-2009, our clients made history by flying over 36 million miles in space on eight separate missions to the ISS."
"Honoring our combined histories, this Dragon mission will be a special experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity — capable of reaching twice the altitude of any prior civilian astronaut mission or space station visitor," Anderson said.
Nobody has launched into orbit from the U.S., including NASA astronauts, since 2011 when the space shuttle program ended.