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Everything you need to know about SpaceX's big moon announcement -

Everything you need to know about SpaceX's big moon announcementElon Musk is nothing if not ambitious.  The SpaceX founder wants his company to lead the charge to build a city on Mars, and next year, the spaceflight company plans to fly its first astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.  SEE ALSO: SpaceX wants to send 2 people around the moon in 2018 So generally, SpaceX is pretty busy. But that doesn't mean it can't take on just one other little project, right? Namely, in 2018, SpaceX plans to fly a pair of (presumably rich) private citizens around the moon and bring them back home. It all sounds pretty intense, so let us break it down for you. SpaceX is planning to fly around the moon, not land on it Fly me to the moon ... Ok — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 27, 2017 At the moment, SpaceX isn't planning to actually land on the surface of the moon for this mission.  Instead, the company is opting to use its Falcon Heavy rocket and crewed Dragon spacecraft to circumnavigate the moon before coming back home to Earth.  The flight profile involves skimming the surface of the lunar body in a "long loop around the moon," Musk said during a press conference Monday.  The mission should take about a week. Two people are going, but we don't know who they are Perhaps the most mysterious part of this whole mission is its passengers. SpaceX has said that the two space explorers have already paid a pretty hefty deposit for the chance to fly on this mission, though the company hasn't yet revealed the names of the individuals expecting to fly next year.  The mission itself will cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hopeful space explorers, and Musk is keeping their names confidential since they haven't given the company permission to release their names.  All we know for now is that they know each other and it's not Richard Garriott, a space tourist who visited the International Space Station.  Not me... yet! — Richard Garriott (@RichardGarriott) February 27, 2017 Musk also said that "it's nobody from Hollywood" when asked if the passengers are celebrities.  They will be trained before flight No matter who they are, the two would-be space explorers will be trained before they fly to the moon.  "We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year," SpaceX said in a statement.  "Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results." The mission will launch from a historic pad SpaceX is planning to launch the Falcon Heavy to the moon from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  A Falcon 9 launching from pad 39A. Image: spacex/flickr This pad marked the starting point for many of NASA's Apollo missions to the moon, and SpaceX has a 20-year lease out on it now.  The space company recently launched its first mission from the pad, and it plans to use it for many more in the future.  This will be the farthest any human has been from Earth in more than 45 years The Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972 marks the last time humans flew to deep space.  Since then, NASA has focused on low-Earth orbit with the building of the International Space Station, ending the space agency's lunar ambitions.  If SpaceX succeeds in launching the customers to beyond the moon for their flyaround trip, it will be the farthest afield any human has flown since Apollo 17.  SpaceX has never been shy about its desire to bring humans back to deep space.  The company's goal since it was founded in 2002 has been to make humans a multi-planet species by launching crewed missions to Mars, a plan they hope to enact in the coming decades as they drive down the cost of spaceflight by reusing rockets for more than one launch. This shouldn't be the only moon mission for SpaceX If that schedule remains in place, Musk is thinking that the company can fly at least one or two moon missions per year when they really get going. A Falcon 9 rocket first stage landing. Image: spacex/flickr The SpaceX founder thinks these types of missions could be a good source of revenue for the company if multiple teams are interested in taking the trip.  These types of missions could also be of interest to NASA. Instead of flying straight to Mars, as was the plan under the Obama administration, it's possible that President Donald Trump's NASA will want to head back to the moon before moving on to the red planet.  Don't be surprised if SpaceX doesn't launch on time Musk's company is somewhat infamous in the space industry for its inability to keep to a schedule, and this moonshot might not be any different.  SpaceX has yet to launch a test flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket, though that is set to happen later this year, and the company hasn't yet flown people within its crewed Dragon capsule.  Both the rocket and capsule will need to fly multiple times before launching any kind of mission to the vicinity of the moon.  At the moment, SpaceX is planning to launch an uncrewed flight of its Dragon to the Space Station at the end of this year, with a crewed mission following shortly after.  We'll just have to wait and see if that schedule holds. BONUS: Relive SpaceX's incredible daytime rocket landing with this video

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:53:01 -0500

Georgia pair sentenced to prison over Confederate flag confrontation -

Georgia pair sentenced to prison over Confederate flag confrontationDefendants Jose Torres, 26, and Kayla Norton, 25, were convicted earlier this month of charges that include making "terroristic threats" during the confrontation in Douglas County near Atlanta, which occurred at a time of heated national debate about a flag that many consider a symbol of racism. Georgia Superior Court Judge William McClain sentenced Torres to serve 13 years in prison, and Norton to serve 6 years in prison, Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a phone interview.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:29:27 -0500

Authorities investigate killing of hippo at El Salvador zoo -

Authorities investigate killing of hippo at El Salvador zooSAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — El Salvador's widespread violence reached an unexpected corner with the brutal and fatal beating of the national zoo's beloved hippopotamus Gustavito.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 18:05:47 -0500

Appeals court won't put Trump's travel ban case on hold -

Appeals court won't put Trump's travel ban case on holdSEATTLE (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday denied a request from the U.S. Justice Department to put President Donald Trump's travel ban case on hold until he issues a new executive order.

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:58:01 -0500

Uber executive quits for not disclosing prior sexual harassment allegation - Recode -

Uber executive quits for not disclosing prior sexual harassment allegation - Recode(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc's [UBER.UL] senior vice president of engineering, Amit Singhal, has left the company for failing to disclose a sexual harassment allegation, stemming from his tenure at Alphabet Inc's Google , Recode reported, citing sources. Singhal, who was appointed last month to work closely with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, was asked to resign after Recode informed the company of the allegation this week, the technology news website said.

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