SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that he’s looking forward to sending humans into space next year, confirming an earlier report by Popular Mechanics that the company’s manned space flight is on track.
Popular Mechanics issued its report late last month. Musk, who has been busy juggling events at this other company Tesla, got around to commenting on it Thursday.
SpaceX and Boeing, both of which received contracts from NASA to build spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, have changed launch plans from 2017 to 2018. In 2014, NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.6 billion contract to carry crew to space.
SpaceX is developing the Dragon 2 spacecraft and Boeing is building the CST-100 Starliner. Musk founded SpaceX to lower the cost of space travel with the eventual goal of colonizing Mars.
SpaceX is planning a demonstration mission in February 2018, followed by test in June that will have two crew members aboard, according to NASA.
Boeing is scheduled to conduct an orbital flight test in June, followed by a manned test in August 2018
SpaceX announced in February that it plans to send to private citizens in a crewed Dragon in a trip around the moon next year—an important step towards the company’s ultimate goal. At the time, SpaceX said the private mission would be launched once the operationational Crew Dragon missions are underway for NASA.
SpaceX’s ultimate aspiration is to travel to Mars. SpaceX is already working with NASA scientists to locate possible landing sites on Mars. Paul Wooster, who manages the guidance, navigation, and control systems on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, said during a presentation in March at MicroSymposium 58 that the landing sites were for both its Red Dragon spacecraft as well as future human missions