Private SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts could fly by late 2021, Space Florida says

Partnership with Space Adventures could fly tourists 3 times higher than Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – This spring or summer, NASA’s Commercial Crew astronauts are expected to fill two seats on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. Announced this week, up to four seats could be taken by private astronauts flying at the highest altitude ever by tourists.

SpaceX said it would be up to a five-day flight, two or three times higher than the International Space Station that President Gwynne Shotwell said will, “forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it.”

Tuesday, SpaceX announced a partnership with Space Adventures to make the private spaceflights happen.

The private space exploration company says that while fewer than 600 people have gone to space, just seven have been private astronauts.

Space Florida’s public relations manager Sara Shell called the mission an exciting agreement between SpaceX and Space Adventures.

“It comes on the heels of all the Crew Dragon demo flights that they’ve had and the preparations sending astronauts to space from American soil, from Florida,” Shell said.

Space Florida, Florida’s spaceport authority, said Dragon’s crewed mission will pave the way for the customers.

Space Florida is expecting the first tourist Crew Dragon flights no earlier than late 2021, should the multi-million dollar tickets be secured.

SpaceX already has a private spaceflight mission scheduled for 2023 with a Japanese billionaire who wants to fly around the Moon and bring artists with him.

News 6 asked Space Florida if a day will come when private spaceflight is more affordable.

“I think it’s probably going to come quicker than we think,” Shell said. “The more they do it, the more people that are interested, the lower that price will get.”

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