By Kevin Kelleher
September 17, 2018

SpaceX says it’s signed the first private passenger to fly around the Moon in one of its rockets, and will reveal the mystery passenger’s name at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday. The event, held in SpaceX’s Southern California headquarters, will be broadcast live via a YouTube stream. You can watch the announcement here on YouTube or on a page that SpaceX has set up on its site.

As part of its preparations to create a spacecraft that can fly people to Mars, SpaceX is building what it’s named a BFR—which stands for the Big Falcon Rocket—that will approach the Moon without landing, via a path similar to the one that Apollo 8’s astronauts took on a December 1968 mission. SpaceX has yet to disclose a launch date for rocket, which remains to be built.

The announcement represents a reprieve from months of bad news for SpaceX founder Elon Musk, whose efforts to take on Twitter trolls and to take private Tesla, another company he founded and now leads. SpaceX says that only 24 humans have visited the Moon or its orbit in history, with the last one traveling on a 1972 Apollo mission.

That mission, the Apollo 17, included a crew made up of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt. SpaceX’s passenger will be the first person to take a space flight toward the moon who did not train through a formal program like NASA.

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