SpaceX has signed a deal with space tourism company Space Adventures to launch private citizens aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
In a February 18 press release, Space Adventures revealed that the “Crew Dragon free-flyer mission” would carry up to four individuals. The company touted the mission as a chance to break the altitude record for a private citizen spaceflight.
Although the exact mission profile for the flight is not yet known, Space Adventures revealed in a tweet that the mission will aim to reach an altitude of 1,000 kilometers. This altitude is significant as it approaches the record for a crewed orbital flight set by Gemini 11 in 1966, which briefly reached an orbital apogee of 1,374 kilometers.
“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, Space Adventures.
The exact cost of a seat aboard this historic mission is not yet known. However, Space Adventures has stated that the cost will be “in the range as other orbital spaceflight opportunities.”
SpaceX hopes to launch the first crewed Crew Dragon test flight in the first half of 2020. The mission will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. Assuming a successful flight, SpaceX would then look to schedule the historic Space Adventures flight for between late 2021 and mid 2022.