SpaceX will take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the Moon

22 September, 2018, 05:15 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Who is Yusaku Maezawa

SpaceX co-founder Elon Musk may accompany the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the first passenger SpaceX considers to fly around the moon.

Maezawa will fly on Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s BFR rocket on the trip in 2023, Musk announced Monday.

And the 2023 date, by the way, is far from set in stone; a lot of development and testing work will have to go well for SpaceX to hit that target, Musk said.

He said that Maezawa came to SpaceX with the idea for the group flight.

"These are all artists that I adore, but sadly they are no longer with us", he said.

Maezawa, 42, will be the first lunar traveller since the last US Apollo mission in 1972. In May 2017, Maezawa posted on Instagram a series of photos of himself alongside the work, writing, "When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art".

He then built a shopping website called Zozotown, which made him rich.

"I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself, that would be a little lonely", he said.

"If you hear from me, please say yes", the Japanese tycoon pleaded.

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

The artists Maezawa plans to take on his voyage to the moon have not been named. Maybe I would join on this trip, I don't know.

The tourism announcement comes as the company is racing to meet a tight deadline to start flying astronauts to and from the International Space Station aboard its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft.

He added that he anticipates SpaceX's Starlink satellite system to be operational by then, which he said should aid in the broadcast, particularly when the moon is between the Earth and the spaceship.

The flight will be a significant test of the 348-foot-tall rocket system that SpaceX hopes to use to fly 100 colonists at a time to Mars.

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

The flight will be made aboard the Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS). If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early a year ago to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

SpaceX gave no details of the flight but said it would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space". He is an avid art collector, and in 2016 he spent $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso, two artists he cited as inspirations during Monday's event.

The trip was organized by the Virginia-based company Space Adventures, which has since sent several more paying customers on spaceflights. Bezos' Blue Origin has been tight-lipped about the price of its tickets, but Reuters reported in July that they could cost in the $200,000 range.

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