According to SpaceX, the company has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the Moon late next year.
The two paying space tourists,who have already paid a deposit for the trip, are expected to conduct health and fitness tests later this year. At the same time, they will also begin initial training. Their identities so far remain undisclosed.
As SpaceX reported in their press release, they will launch the company's Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station within NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The first mission will be for demonstrative purposes only, traveling in automatic mode without any human crew on board. In the second quarter of 2018, the second mission to space is planned, this time carrying crew as well.
SpaceX says that it is "currently contracted to perform an average of four Dragon 2 missions to the ISS per year, three carrying cargo and one carrying crew. By also flying privately crewed missions, which NASA has encouraged, long-term costs to the government decline and more flight reliability history is gained, benefiting both government and private missions."
The first private mission on a journey to circumnavigate the Moon and return to Earth will begin with a lift-off from Kennedy Space Center's historic Pad 39A near Cape Canaveral, which is the same one the legendary Apollo program used as well for its lunar missions.
After 45 years, this will be the first time humans are given the opportunity to return to deep space. SpaceX promises they will "travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them."