Elon Musk’s SpaceX signs up first passenger for round-the-moon trip

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SpaceX called the moon launch "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

SpaceX, the private space exploration company that tests its rocket motors at its facility in McGregor west of Waco, has signed up a traveler for a flight to the moon. "No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972". Asked whether he'd be the first passenger, Musk - who's also the CEO of Tesla - posted an emoji of a Japanese flag.

In 2017, Japanese internet conglomerate SofBbank, which runs the $93 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, invested in satellite broadband provider OneWeb, a business which SpaceX is also interested in, according to leaked documents obtained by Quartz.

SpaceX set up a livestream for the announcement, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT on Monday (9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. Tuesday GMT / 11 a.m. Tuesday AEST).

Other non-astronauts that have flown into space include inventor Gregory Olsen and multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the first tourist in space, after he paid $20 million to spend 8 days on the ISS in April 2001.

Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic LLC are among companies that are attempting to commercialize space travel.

In June, it was revealed by the Wall Street Journal that SpaceX wouldn't be sending a couple around the moon on its Dragon spacecraft later this year, a promise that was touted in early-2017. Neither the company nor Musk tweeted about the timing of the trip.

"We've been approached to do a crewed mission beyond the moon from some private individuals", he said at the time.

They would have blasted off aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket.

During a speech in Australia past year, Musk said he was hopeful that the BFR would be able to launch and land at last two cargo ships on Mars by 2022.

On its website, SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission", implying there will be more.