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SpaceX teams up with tourism agency to take people to space aboard Crew Dragon

SpaceX and Space Adventures said it's looking to offer five-day trips to space to a handful of wealthy travelers.
Credit: David McNew
A spacesuit designed for use on the Crew Dragon spacecraft is seen during a media tour of SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory on August 13, 2018 in Hawthorne, California. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Do you have tens of millions of dollars lying around and really want to go to space?

Well, you're in luck -- SpaceX announced it's teaming up with tourism agency Space Adventures to offer tourist trips to space. Space Adventures announced the agreement with Elon Musk's company on Tuesday, saying the private citizen missions would "Be the first orbital tourism experience provided entirely with American technology."

The company said up to four people would travel in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. They would be launched into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket -- the same vehicles SpaceX said it will eventually use to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. 

The trip through Earth's orbit could last up to five days and put travelers two to three times higher than where the ISS orbits.

While the tourist trip to space doesn't involve an excursion to the ISS, Space Adventures said the trip would allow travelers to "see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program."

Gemini was the program before Apollo and helped NASA study the effects of space travel on humans.

"This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it," SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in a release.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft isn't a luxury space cruiser but rather snuggly fits four seats and has three windows. Travelers would also have to undergo astronaut training before their trip.

Neither SpaceX nor Space Adventures has released any details on pricing for these space excursions, but many have speculated the trips could cost tens of millions of dollars per person.

Teslarati, the news outlet for Musk's Tesla and SpaceX, conservatively estimated a cost of $100-200 million per launch. If Space Adventures put four travelers in one flight, the outlet said that translates to $25-50 million per person.

Last year, Bigelow Aerospace said it would plan trips to the ISS using Crew Dragon as well with tickets selling for $52 million. However, those plans were canceled, CNN reported.

Space Adventures is the only company to coordinate tourism flights to space. It has already worked with Russia to use Soyuz spacecraft to get wealthy people to space, including space investor Anousheh Ansari and Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberte. Those trips cost about $20 million, CNN reported.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft is currently at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, ahead of a tentative crewed launch. SpaceX intentionally destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket in January to test the spacecraft's ability to safely escape and get astronauts to safety in the event of a failure.

RELATED: NASA: SpaceX Crew Dragon arrives in Florida for first crewed launch from US soil since 2011

RELATED: SpaceX intentionally destroys a rocket to test the Crew Dragon abort system

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