SpaceX to announce private moon flight passenger

Ismael LynchSep 21, 2018

Elon Musk's company, SpaceX, announced on Tuesday that Japanese online fashion tycoon, Yusaku Maezawa, will be the Big Falcon Rocket's first private passenger, according to the BBC.

The US company, SpaceX, has said Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire is its first customer.

For an undisclosed sum, Maezawa chartered every ticket on the flight, which will take him and up to eight artists on a four- to five-day slingshot journey around the moon as soon as 2023 - the centerpiece to a project dubbed "Dear Moon".

Musk said the money spent on the trip will help to fund the BFR's development, with the goal of one day opening up space travel to the average person. "And late Sunday, Musk further fueled the anticipation by tweeting out artist renderings of the massive launch vehicle that SpaceX is developing to fly into deep space, with a simple message: "#OccupyMars". He wants his guests "to see the moon up close, and the Earth in full view, and create work to reflect their experience", he says.

Maezawa and whoever flies with him will join an exclusive club - only two dozen astronauts have ever visited the moon, and no one has been to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

The identity of the traveler will be revealed at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during an event Monday evening.

A year later, he paid more than $110 million auction for another piece by the same artist.

Forbes estimates Maezawa is worth $2.9 billion, so he's got deep pockets to bankroll his art addiction and space ambitions.

Musk had previously said he wanted the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.

As for Musk, he's not sure when he'll go to space, even though Maezawa extended the invitation to him.

Musk says he's aiming for Maezawa's moonshot to take place in 2023.

Why does he want to go to the moon?

"I don't know if they have the skills to translate that experience in a way that is digestible for the majority of people".

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.

Asked why the company made further changes, Musk said he "did not like the aesthetics" of the previous version. Last year, he said two paying tourists would circle the Moon in 2018, but those plans that did not materialise.

Musk later reversed course, saying the company no longer has plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.

Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July. It became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and safely return it to Earth in 2010, and the first commercial enterprise to fly to the space station in 2012 on a supply mission.

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