Japanese Billionaire Will Be the First Private Passenger of SpaceX's Falcon Rocket

21 September, 2018, 16:03 | Author: Larry Hoffman
  • SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk left shakes hands with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa right after announcing him as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon

Elon Musk announced that Yusaku Maezawa, billionaire founder and CEO of the Japanese fashion retailer Zozo, would be the first private citizen to fly around the moon.

Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket, which is still being developed, for a slingshot trip around the Moon as soon as 2023. "I choose to go to the moon, with artists", he said, adding he would ask them to create works sparked by the the trip upon their return.

On plans to send "space tourists" to the moon SpaceX said in early 2017.

"SpaceX is going to be doing many, many test flights to ensure safety and we will wait for that to happen before we go", Maezawa told Reuters. Moreover, he is also known as the one who paid a record of $110 million for a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat a year ago.

He said he often mused about what artists like Basquiat or Andy Warhol might have come up with if they had traveled into space.

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On its website , SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission", implying there will be more moon trips. During its event tonight, the company put a name to the first private passenger who will fly around the moon.

"A lot of people can make art standing in a studio, which I have downstairs", he said in his home near Cambie Street.

Musk said two people who know each other approached the company about a weeklong flight to the moon and back.

"It's not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight", Musk said of the lunar mission.

The new SpaceX strategy is to still fly around the moon without landing, but use an even bigger rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship.

The latest blueprints mark the final major redesign of the rocket, whose development is expected to cost roughly $5 billion, according to Musk.

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The lunar mission could take four or five days, which would feel like a hot minute to Kelly, who has logged 520 days in space, including a yearlong mission on the International Space Station. The company's Space Dragon crew capsule, which is meant to take astronauts to the International Space Station, missed an initial target date of 2017 and won't see a manned test until 2019.

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 rocket won't land on the surface of the moon, but will instead orbit around it.

Branson's Virgin Galactic has sold tickets for about $250,000, which is more than the median home price in the United States. The announcement about world's first moon tourist was made SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday.

But how much is Yusaku Maezawa worth?

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behavior and the struggles of his Tesla electric auto company to deliver. He also desires to take the artists with him to convert the entire trip into an art project that will be known as #dearMoon. The device wasn't used and in the interview, Unsworth called it a "PR stunt" and said it wouldn't have worked to free the boys who were trapped in the flooded cave.

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