SpaceX: Japanese billionaire first tourist to fly to moon



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

However, Musk did say that Maezawa brought the idea to him and that the Japanese billionaire's money will help fund development of Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, which the company plans to use for the lunar flight - and eventually, for a flight to Mars.

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.

"He's a very courageous person to do this", Musk said of the Japanese entrepreneur. His plan is to bring with him six to eight artists from various disciplines, including film, architecture, painting, sculpture and photography, with the goal that upon their return to Earth they create works inspired by the experience.

If Elon Musk and Yusaku Maezawa want a person with some space experience to go along on the planned SpaceX lunar mission, they've already got a volunteer.

Maezawa has made a down payment on the trip, but declined to reveal how much he spent in total.

In announcing the moon flight Mr Musk has stolen a march on his rivals for "space tourist" dollars. "Maybe we'll both be on it".

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Musk said the BFR is still in development and will make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers. Forbes reports that his net worth is $2.9 billion, though the tycoon had humble beginnings in business, starting by selling CDs and records when he was younger.

Maezawa - founder and Manager of companies and Zozotown Zozo associated with the online sale of fashionable clothes.

Virgin's trip will cost about $250,000.

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. In 2017, during an update at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk showed the audience a slide that said the first crewed BFS is expected to land on Mars in 2024. Last month he told the New York Times he was overwhelmed by job stress. We're not sure as SpaceX did not share any of this information to the public, probably for good reasons.

Musk also revealed tonight that Maezawa is the person who previously booked a two-person, round-the-moon trip with SpaceX aboard the company's Dragon capsule.

The diminutive Maezawa, who as a young man struggled to find clothes that fit, hopes to revolutionize the fashion industry through his Zozosuit, which, once donned, allows users to upload their body measurements and order a growing number of made-to-measure items.

Shotwell also said the full rocket could reach orbit for the first time in 2020 and possibly deliver cargo to the Moon or Mars in 2022.

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