Elon Musk. File photo: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER
Elon Musk. File photo: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER

Sydney — Elon Musk’s rocket company has signed up its first passenger for a flight around the moon, taking a giant leap towards commercialising space travel.

The person’s identity will be revealed on September 17, SpaceX. said in a tweet. Asked whether he’d be the first passenger, Musk — who’s also the CEO of Tesla — posted an emoji of a Japanese flag.

"SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard out BFR launch vehicle — an important step towards enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space. Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17."

Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are among companies attempting to commercialise space travel. In July, billionaire Branson said he hoped to be sitting on a spaceship going to space before the end of the year.

This month, SpaceX successfully launched a commercial satellite from Florida, marking the company’s 16th mission of 2018. Its valuation has climbed to about $28bn, making it the third-most valuable venture-backed start-up in the US after Uber and Airbnb.

The company also has a contract to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station.