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SpaceX plans to send a small number of tourists into space

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  • SpaceX is collaborating with Space Adventures to send a small number of private citizens into space as early as 2021, Engadget reported on Tuesday.
  • The company intends to take up to four tourists into orbit on the Dragon spacecraft for five days.
  • SpaceX also recently launched an online booking tool for sending satellites into space starting at $1 million.
  • Customers can schedule flights for packages on the Falcon 9 starting in June.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

SpaceX is teaming up with Space Adventures, an American space-tourism company, to send a small number of tourists into space as early as 2021, Engadget reported on Tuesday.

There’s not much information about how the people will be chosen, and The Verge reported Space Adventures wasn’t yet revealing pricing details. A spokesperson for SpaceX wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The agreement comes several weeks after SpaceX opened an online booking tool for sending satellites into space on the Falcon 9 rocket, with payload prices starting at $1 million.

SpaceX, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft with the goal of lowering the cost of space travel and eventually enabling humans to colonize Mars.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, which can carry up to seven passengers, will bring as many as four tourists into space for up to five days in orbit. The four noncrew members will receive several weeks of training before launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Engadget reported.

The Dragon spacecraft hasn’t completed a flight with humans aboard, but it’s scheduled to carry a crew in a mission in spring. The spacecraft had a successful trip to the International Space Station last year.

Flight tests for the upcoming tourism trip appear to have fixed problems that resulted in an explosion in April and demonstrated that the passenger capsule could release and land in the Atlantic during launch in case of malfunction.

But space tourism isn’t the only frontier SpaceX is pioneering. The Falcon 9 launch service caters to customers who want to send small satellites into space but can’t afford a full rocket, which can cost more than $60 million, according to TechCrunch. (Companies can book a payload flight on Falcon 9 by filling out this form.)

Falcon 9 is the first orbital-class reusable rocket, according to the SpaceX website. Rocket reusability is a key factor in reducing costs for access to space.

Falcon 9 made its first flight in 2012 to the International Space Station and completed its most recent launch on January 29.

SEE ALSO: To rocket Americans back to the moon in 2024, NASA says it needs an additional $35 billion over the next 4 years

DON’T MISS: Astronaut Christina Koch just broke the world record for the longest time spent in space by a woman. Here are 4 breathtaking photos of Earth she captured from 250 miles above the planet.

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