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Are We There Yet? Podcast

The Next Space Race?

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NASA's Space Launch System (right) and SpaceX's Falcon Heavy (left) are racing to the moon. Photo: NASA / SpaceX

Elon Musk wants to go to the moon. Well, two private customers want Elon to send them to the moon.

The founder of SpaceX says he can do it by the end of 2018. The trip would be a free-return trip around the moon with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule which s being developed to take astronauts to the International Space Station now.

The announcement comes on the heels of NASA’s saying it’s looking into putting a crew on Exploration Mission – 1. That one’s on the books now as an uncrewed mission on the Orion Spacecraft launched on the Space Launch System, but program managers are exploring the option of putting astronauts on that mission which is pretty similar to the SpaceX plan and roughly around the same time.

So is the SpaceX plan do-able? Will NASA crew EM-1? And what’s with the timing of Elon’s announcement? Is a space race brewing?

Phil Larson joins the podcast. Phil was an adviser on space policy to the Obama Administration and also worked for SpaceX. Now, he’s an Assistant Dean at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »