Building on the success of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in March 2019 and the recent successful test of the spacecraft’s launch escape system, Space Adventures and SpaceX have entered into an agreement to fly private citizens on the first Crew Dragon 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.
If interested parties are secured, this mission will be the first orbital space tourism experience provided entirely with American technology. Private citizens will fly aboard SpaceX’s fully autonomous Crew Dragon spacecraft launched by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, the same spacecraft and launch vehicle that SpaceX will use to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the Space Adventures’ team on the mission,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX.
“Creating unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space is why Space Adventures exists. From 2001-2009 our clients made history by flying over 36 million miles in space on eight separate missions to the ISS. Since its maiden mission in 2010, no engineering achievement has consistently impressed the industry more than the Dragon/Falcon 9 reusable system. 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, Space Adventures.
The agreement was announced on 18 February 2020.