"We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission. 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. We expect to conduct health and fitness tests, as well as begin initial training later this year. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results."
"We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure it safely meets the contractual obligations to return the launch of astronauts to U.S. soil and continue to successfully deliver supplies to the International Space Station. "For more than a decade, NASA has invested in private industry to develop capabilities for the American people and seed commercial innovation to advance humanity's future in space. "NASA is changing the way it does business through its commercial partnerships to help build a strong American space economy and free the agency to focus on developing the next-generation rocket, spacecraft and systems to go beyond the moon and sustain deep space exploration."
Just remember folks: SLS & Falcon Heavy have never flown. Orion & Dragon2 have never flown w/crew. Both rockets are delayed. Things happen.— NASA Watch (@NASAWatch) February 28, 2017
Keith's note: It is rather strange that NASA would issue a press release about this private commercial venture since this mission does not involve NASA in any way - other than using the launch pad that they rent from NASA and a self-purchased version of the spacecraft they let NASA use. This strikes me as a "well, we need to say something - don't we?" sort of press release from NASA. I guess NASA wants to remind people that they still have big rockets - even if their version of a lunar mission with 2 people will cost many times what SpaceX will charge, will take years longer to accomplish (if the White House says so), and will likely not be repeated i.e. a one-off stunt. Oh yes: notice the the #JourneyToMars thing is no longer automatically put into every NASA press release.