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SpaceX signs first private moon customer

Aerospace company SpaceX says it has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the moon.

SpaceX broke the news on Twitter saying the flight on its Big Falcon Rocket will be an "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space".

"Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972," it added.

SpaceX founder and billionaire Elon Musk posted an emoji of the Japanese flag on Twitter when he was asked if he was the first passenger.

Musk introduced the Big Falcon Rocket, composed of a rocket and spaceship, last year saying it was aimed at allowing people to colonise Mars and that the company wanted to land two cargo ships there in 2022.

The first ship carrying crews could arrive two years later, he said.

The company announced plans to send two private passengers around the Moon in February 2017, with take-off planned for this year. However the passengers were never named and the flight has yet to materialise.

It was not clear if one of those passengers was the same as the one mentioned in Thursday's statement.

© DPA 2018