Like many Cirrus Aviation passengers, you’re ready to fly virtually anywhere on the globe for either business or leisure. But you may want to keep your plans open for a trip you've never made before: a Las Vegas jet charter flight to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where you could board a Falcon Heavy rocket ship for a trip circling the moon.
This is no science fiction plot; this is a scientific reality. Aerospace manufacturer SpaceX has announced plans to fly two private citizens around the moon in 2018 with other space travelers to follow.
For flight aficionados, the announcement puts space travel within tantalizing reach. And Cirrus Aviation, with a ready fleet of Las Vegas jet charters, is poised to play a role in the burgeoning field known as “space tourism.”
The next lunar traveler could be you
Naturally, everyone wants to know the identity of the two people who SpaceX founder Elon Musk said approached the company with an offer to pay for the moon flight. But they are remaining anonymous, with Musk saying they have paid a “significant deposit” to take a week-long mission that will depart from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, on Pad 39A – the same launch pad used by NASA for its Apollo lunar missions.
Musk says the two trailblazers will be strapped in “the most powerful vehicle to reach orbit after the Saturn V moon rocket” used by NASA during the 1970s. “At 5 million pounds of liftoff thrust, Falcon Heavy is two-thirds the thrust of Saturn V and more than double the thrust of the next largest launch vehicle currently flying.”
The pair will undergo health and fitness tests as well as initial flight training later this year to prepare for the mission. “Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow,” Musk adds, sending hopes soaring among travelers who now see taking a Las Vegas jet charter to board a rocket ship as a plausible reality – a far cry from the virtual reality space craze that fizzled out so quickly in 2016.
For now, the historical significance of the odyssey appears to be top-of-mind with Musk.
The mission “presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years, and they will travel faster and further into the solar system than any before them,” he said. “Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.”
NASA supports lunar mission
This lofty announcement notwithstanding, observers are expecting a more grounded approach from Musk, who has inspired as much awe as controversy since he founded SpaceX in 2002. He raised eyebrows when he outlined plans to colonize Mars and faced unexpected challenges when two unmanned company rockets blew up within the last two years.
Supporters say these setbacks should be balanced against SpaceX's successful launch of two rockets in 2017 and its longstanding partnership with NASA, which hired the company to become the first to fly cargo to the International Space Station. Crews are next on the partnership agenda.
Skeptics who contend that Musk should exercise a more cautious approach to space travel might be placated by his words of caution about the upcoming lunar mission.
The passengers “are entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here,” he said. “They are certainly not naïve. We’ll do everything we can to minimize that risk. But it’s not zero.”
Perhaps most telling, the private moon flight has engendered the full support of NASA.
“NASA commends its industry partners for reaching higher," spokesman Bob Jacobs said in a statement.
As a Las Vegas jet charter traveler, who could blame you for being moonstruck? Cirrus Aviation is ready to fly you to Florida to watch the historic liftoff – or perhaps take part in a future space voyage yourself. Call (702) 472-9714.