Space company SpaceX plans to hold the first commercial spacewalk by the end of the year at the earliest, it announced Monday.
Elon Musk's company has launched the manufacture of new spacesuits for this mission, dubbed Polaris Dawn, during which a crew member is expected to leave the spacecraft in orbit around the Earth to perform small jobs.
The spacecraft also aims to reach, during this trip, the highest orbit ever inhabited around our planet, without SpaceX advancing a precise distance. In 1966, the American mission Gemini XI had established a record of altitude at 1.400 kilometers. For comparison, the International Space Station (ISS) flies at an altitude of about 400 km.
The commander of SpaceX's new five-day mission will be American billionaire and pilot Jared Isaacman. The founder of the payment service Shift4 Payments previously participated in a spacewalk with SpaceX last September. The other three male and female travelers will be former Army pilot Scott Poteet and SpaceX employees Sarah Gillis and Anna Menon.
Two other Polaris missions are already planned, although no date has yet been set.
The competition between billionaires for space tourism is raging between Elon Musk (SpaceX), Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin). Elon Musk has notably sold a trip to the Moon to a Japanese billionaire, while SpaceX is also involved in the US government's space program.