back to article I'm sorry, Elon. I'm afraid I can't do that... SpaceX touts robo-rides for orbital vacations, lift-off in 2021-ish

SpaceX has pledged to carry up to four passengers into Earth orbit aboard its autonomous Crew Dragon capsule – its first crewed mission for private space tourism – as early as 2021. The program is part of the deal with Space Adventures, a commercial spaceflight company based in Virginia, USA. The tourism business, which …

  1. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    I will be closer to Uranus for five whole days!

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      The stinkiness of space craft is something not often talked about.

    2. Persona Silver badge

      Nah … thanks to the orbit you will only be closer for 2.5 days, and further away for the other 2.5 but I guess they could go for a highly elliptical orbit to get you closer to Uranus for a lot more of the time.

  2. macjules

    Check the small print?

    Clause 22.1a: In the event of a rapid, unscheduled disassembly of the unit then Space X, their successors or affiliates may not be held liable for your demise, death or other minor or major bodily injury, discorporation or other dissemination.

    Clause 22.1b: In the event of Clause 22.1a above no fee shall be refunded or returned.

  3. Timbo Bronze badge


    Is Elon Musk really trying to put people out of work?

    Tesla are/have developed autonomous himan carrying cars.

    SpaceX are developing an autonomous human carrying spaceship.

    What next? Autonomous aeroplanes? Autonomous government?

    Maybe Musk should trademark Autonomous everything?

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Autonomous?

      There are good reasons for autonomous. Bob Behnken: "There were about 3,000 switches inside [the shuttle] and there was no situation that the astronauts couldn't make worse by touching the wrong switch at the wrong time" "We're grateful that the next vehicle we're going to fly [Dragon] on is going to be a little bit more automated."

      I wanted to link to a picture the half assembled control console of Starliner, but I cannot find it again (or how much it weighed - lots). Instead, here is one fully assembled. Now imagine a cable harness behind all those buttons connecting each to the appropriate actuator - which is often outside the pressure hull. Some careful and detail oriented human has to check each connection on every Starliner.

      Crew Dragon was not going to have any controls - exactly what I would want if I was going into orbit with three other tourists. NASA insisted and, as they are paying, SpaceX put in the minimum required controls. It only has physical buttons when NASA insisted. The touch screen shows the appropriate controls for the stage of the mission (and does not rely on a timer in the capsule set by querying the rocket before the rocket knows the launch time and which the rocket defaults to zero.) The flight suit finger tips have the correct capacitance to operate to touch screen and data moves between the control console and the rest of the vehicle through network cables. Except for those physical buttons the whole thing can be automatically tested with software not written by Boeing.

      Would you rather fly in something that could get you there by itself but has redundant controls on the ground or something that will kill you if a fellow passenger presses the wrong button (or the right button connected to the wrong actuator)?

      1. thondwe

        Re: Autonomous?

        Automatic Launch time - worked well on Thunderbirds!


      2. druck Silver badge

        Re: Autonomous?

        Apollo 12 - SCS to AUX.

      3. JCitizen

        Re: Autonomous?

        @Flocke Kroes

        At that link you provided, I noticed the Shuttle pilot kept his arms and hands as far away from the control panel as possible. Sounds like he agreed with previous comments here!

      4. dobbin99

        Re: Autonomous?

        The whole design ethos of Soyuz was to be completely automated. The engineers didn't want pesky humans messing things up, and didn't see any need for any manual controls. It was only push back from the Cosmonauts that any manual controls were put in at all.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a trial of the first B Ark


    1. Astarte

      Re: Sounds like a trial of the first B Ark

      I hope they leave us with a few telephone sanitisers.

      1. hplasm

        Re: Sounds like a trial of the first B Ark

        "I hope they leave us with a few telephone sanitisers."

        But- you can sanitise your phone by putting it in the microwave oven for 2 minutes!

        It also charges it!

        Do try and keep up!

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Sounds like a trial of the first B Ark

          [Waits for someone to try it...]

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The crew will spend up to five days in space without visiting the International Space Station"

    They will pay $20 million to be cooped up in what looks like a large-ish Gemini capsule for five whole days ?

    If you can splurge that amount of money, you are a person that has the habit of doing whatever you want, going wherever you want, whenever you want. You're also used to spacious, luxurious environments and people whose only job is to ensure that you're happy. Being locked up in a large telephone booth for five days is not your habitual environment, and doing that with four other people who are just as uppity as you are is going to drive someone crazy without a shred of doubt.

    Plus, you'll not only not have caviar and champagne on demand, you'll also be defecating in full view of four total strangers. You'll have to get along with them, and that's not something you're used to either.

    Paying that amount of money sure will bring you bragging rights back home - if you live to brag about it - but the experience is going to be unique in more ways than one, that's for sure.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: "The crew will spend up to five days in space without visiting the International Space Station"

      Crew dragon does have some sort of toilet facilities with a "privacy curtain", but they're likely to be very minimal.

      I'd be more worried about "accidents" using those facilities. There's a reason the Apollo crews referred to the CM as "the mens room".

      1. Stumpy

        Re: "The crew will spend up to five days in space without visiting the International Space Station"

        Remember the Wollowitz zero gravity waste disposal system...

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: "The crew will spend up to five days in space without visiting the International Space Station"

      Being locked up in a large telephone booth for five days is not your habitual environment

      Yeah, but maybe it's bigger on the inside.

    3. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: "The crew will spend up to five days in space without visiting the International Space Station"

      For $80 million you could reserve the entire capsule for a private honeymoon. For a few million more they may even throw in a automated spouse. Be sure to leave a tip for the cleanup crew!

      Great view but room service sucks.

  6. adam 40 Silver badge

    Not interested in the landing sequence?

    I was wondering if SpaceX will be monitoring the four during training?

    All we need is for one of them to take over the controls (SUCH AS THEY ARE) during the mission and complete the missing part of 9/11, except this time from orbit with 3-6 tonnes of stuff hurtling down on the White House and no prospect of stopping it.

    Or.... maybe we do.... ????

  7. Martin Summers

    Ask the price?

    I won't ask but I'm sure the prices are reassuringly astronomical...

  8. Milton

    Funnily enough ...

    Funnily enough ... although I am (rightly) scathing about Virgin Galactic's sub-orbital stunt flights, I can see why your average obscenely rich individual might go for that, rather than these oribtal flights—which don't sound very realistic to me anyway.

    With the Virgin system, you get your nice shiny Astronaut badge, even though you've done nothing but fly up 80km and then come back down again. (Well, "astronaut" who hasn't even flown into orbit, or even reached 100km.) You're only aboard the ship long enough to get the badge. Just afew hours.

    Whereas the SpaceX scheme ... who does want to spend four days in a tiny, smelly space with three strangers, with virtually no privacy, and a very same-y view out the tiny window? What are you gonna do if one of the other rich idiots keeps puking? Or has a heart attack? Or goes a bit bonkers and refuses to follow procedure? Has chronic flatulence?

    Starship may be big enough to afford some comfort to tourists, but Crew Dragon? Really? No, I don't see it.

    The very rich twits will pay Branson for a chance to fly not even to the Karman Line, and get a pretty badge if they survive.

    The obscenely rich will wait for a stateroom aboard Starship.

    1. JCitizen

      Re: Funnily enough ...


      80km is just short of the 116 miles Shepard flew in the 1st US flight. At least you can say it is comparable. 107 km difference?

  9. FlossyThePig

    For added safety

    Make sure Elon Musk is one of the first four.

  10. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Familiarity with the controls ...

    "The passengers will be familiar with the system to be able to control the spacecraft if required."

    " ... this contains the purple luminaires, the box beside it contains red luminaires ..."

  11. fpx
    Paris Hilton

    Rich and Richer

    If you are merely rich, you will have to suffer the close presence of strangers.

    If you are slightly richer, you can buy all four seats for yourself for that extra privacy, or to bring along only those friends that you can actually tolerate.

  12. spold Silver badge


    Hopefully it's not sub-leased to Hotblack Dessiato.

    >>>This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity...

    AKA guinea pigs.

    p.s. don't forget to take a towel

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