Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Japanese billionaire to be first tourist to Moon: SpaceX

Japanese billionaire to be first tourist to Moon: SpaceX

SpaceX's crewed missions are now scheduled to begin by the middle of next year.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has posted new photos and comments teasing the company's imminent BFR and lunar tourism update, showing off a few more angles of the spaceship upper stage's new design ahead of a dedicated event later today.

SpaceX is on the verge of announcing the name of the person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon.

Yusaka Maezawa has purchased every available seat aboard Musk's first BFR rocket that will travel to the moon as early as 2023.

Maezawa has plenty of money to devote to this moon shot.

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and previous year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5million.

"I choose to go to the moon", Maezawa said to cheers and applause at the California headquarters of the United States aerospace company, after being introduced by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Maezawa says he intends to invite artists from different disciplines, including literature, film, visual arts, architecture and fashion. The only catch is that they create something to honor their time aboard the BFR and for the moon trip.

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".

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On its website, SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission", implying there will be more moon trips. Musk said the estimated cost of the overall BFR development was about $5 billion.

It's not the same mission SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined past year.

Musk touched on one of his favorite themes, a call for humanity to become a multi-planetary civilization, as he kicked off the announcement.

"I wish to create wonderful works of art for humankind", Maezawa said.

SpaceX is already making headlines around the world for its efforts to make spaceflight more affordable for organizations like NASA as well as private companies, but today the company will announce something truly revolutionary.

Maezawa - described by SpaceX as a "fashion innovator" and "globally recognized art curator" - will be the first human to embark on a lunar mission since 1972, when the last Apollo mission went down. Twelve walked on the lunar surface.

Musk, who is well-known for issuing overly ambitious schedules, said during a Q&A in March that he hoped to begin testing the spaceship portion of the BFR sometime in 2019.

The vehicle is now under development at the Los Angeles Port.

The system will eventually replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the Dragon spacecraft. The vehicle also features three larger fins in the aft section, with landing legs integrated into them, and a pair of forward funs than can move.

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