SpaceX signs agreement to fly private customers on Crew Dragon spacecraft




  • In Science
  • 2020-02-20 16:18:04Z
  • By USA TODAY
 

SpaceX entered into an agreement with Space Adventures, a company that organizes spaceflights for private citizens, both announced Tuesday.

Space Adventures said it agreed to fly a group of private citizens on the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which was developed for NASA flights to the International Space Station, on the first "free-flyer mission."

"This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program," the company said in a release.

A timeline for the mission and costs were not provided, but a typical commercial Falcon 9 launch - without Crew Dragon - costs $50 million to $65 million.

If customers are secured, it would mark the first orbital space tourism experience powered by American hardware. Crew Dragon would launch on a Falcon 9 rocket as opposed to Space Adventures' previous flights, which have flown on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

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"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," said Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures.

Washington-based Space Adventures was the first company to organize private spaceflights. Its clients have included American businessman Dennis Tito, South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth and Iranian American engineer Anousheh Ansari.

Crew Dragon is slated to launch on its first crewed mission to the International Space Station in the second quarter of this year. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley will be its first crew.

Contact Emre Kelly at aekelly@floridatoday.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly. Support his space journalism by subscribing at floridatoday.com/specialoffer/.

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: SpaceX agrees to fly private customers on Crew Dragon spacecraft

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