Elon Musk gets into space tourism with $70m moon trip

The Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk has signed up two people to be paying passengers on a planned journey around the moon by his SpaceX company.

A SpaceX rocket lifting off
A SpaceX rocket lifting off

The anonymous individuals, who know each other and have already begun training, have put down a deposit for the journey, which is expected to take place in late 2018.

It is not totally clear how much the customers are paying for the trip. According to The Guardian, Musk said the cost is "comparable" to that of sending astronauts to the International Space Station, and NASA pays Russia’s space agency Roscosmos "about $70m [£56m] per astronaut to do so".

The 400,000 mile journey will take a week and will slingshot the tourists around the moon.  

Musk’s plans offer competition to the most well-known space tourism brand, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic is yet to set a date for its first tourism flight, despite having signed up around 700 people, including a number through a competition tie-up with Land Rover.