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SpaceX says it can beat NASA to the Moon
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From AviationWeek (free registration required):

SpaceX Says It Can Beat NASA to the Moon

Short version: SpaceX has two paying customers who have put a substantial deposit on a lunar fly-around, which it says it can pull off by the end of 2018.  This is ahead of even NASA's most nail-biting, aggressive estimates of when they might be able to do the same thing with SLS and Orion.

Moreover, Musk said that SpaceX hopes to conduct more commercial lunar flights, and predicted that eventually they could account for 20% of company revenues.

This is really fantastic news.  I've been cheering SpaceX for their innovative hardware and lean operation for years, while at the same time being disappointed at its sole focus on Mars, which is much too far away to be a sensible next step.  But I've hoped all along that once business starts developing around the Moon, SpaceX would surely not turn it down.  Now we see that's the case.  People are going to the Moon, and SpaceX will take them there.

Now we just need Blue Origin to step up its game a bit, and get into the race as well... and we will truly have a virtuous cycle that drives costs down and services up.

Joe Strout
Lead Developer, High Frontier

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