Elon Musk’s SpaceX has delayed its plan to launch two space tourists on a mission around the moon. Musk had earlier announced in February 2017 that his company was aiming to fly a pair of space tourists on its Dragon V2 spacecraft onboard Falcon Heavy rocket on a week-long journey around the moon before the end of 2018.
According to a report on The Wall Street Journal, the launch timetable has now been delayed to at least the middle of 2019, and possibly later. While SpaceX hasn’t offered any exact reason for the postponement, the Wall Street report stated that the delay might have been caused due to some technical and production challenges. The Dragon V2 spacecraft is also yet to be thoroughly tested. The spacecraft won’t land on the Moon, but it will get close to the lunar surface as it circles it.
SpaceX spokesperson James Gleeson said that company’s plan to fly private individuals around the moon is still on as there is growing interest from many customers. Notably, a new timeline for the mission is yet to be announced.
The two space travelers who will be participating in SpaceX’s moon mission have not been identified as of yet. The only thing that the space company has confirmed is that the two private citizens have “already paid a significant deposit” for the privilege of being the company’s first space tourism clients.
SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft already fly cargo missions to and from the International Space Station, launching atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Musk’s aerospace company is still working to get the manned version of the Dragon capsule ready to go.
Notably, this is not the first time that SpaceX has missed its launch timelines. The company’s massive Falcon Heavy rocket faced a number of delays over several years before getting launched in February this year.