Japanese billionaire to be first tourist to Moon: SpaceX

SpaceX founder Elon Musk announces Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon.

Musk says the BFR will act more like a sky diver than an airplane.

Elon Musk and his rocket company, SpaceX, plan to launch a private passenger named Yusaku Maezawa around the moon.

'This is my lifelong dream'.

He's the founder of Japan's largest online clothing retailer, Zozotown, and also has his own clothing brand call Zozo.

He founded the Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo in 2012 and bought two works by USA artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the last two years for a total of around $170 million. Maezawa has not yet chosen the artists who will accompany him and will be looking at top candidates from a wide range of disciplines, including painters, musicians, fashion designer, photographers, filmmakers, and architects. "So, I choose to go to the Moon with artists". "These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us", the future amateur astronaut told reporters.

And he doesn't want to go alone either.

It wasn't revealed how much Maezawa paid for the flight, but Musk did announce that the businessman approached him about the flight.

That now stands to change with BFR and signals a synergy between SpaceX and Maezawa in terms of using the BFR architecture to make space accessible to everyone.

Until now, Americans are the only ones who have left Earth's orbit.

Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA's Apollo program. Twelve walked on the lunar surface. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early previous year to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them". It also has a forward moving wing near the nose, Musk wrote on Twitter. "He chose us. He is a very courageous person to do this".

"This is unsafe, to be clear".

'When you are pushing the frontier, it is not a sure thing. "There's some chance something could go wrong".

A former drummer in a punk band, billionaire Maezawa, 42, will take a trip around the moon aboard its forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialise space travel to new heights.

SpaceX announced last month that its first crewed Dragon mission aims to take two NASA astronauts to the ISS in April 2019.

Musk said SpaceX has updated the design for the BFR rocket for the third time in three years.

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon.

He had said that the trip would happen this year and would not involve a landing, but rather a long loop around the moon. The fully reusable BFR is designed for trips around Earth, to Mars and beyond.

The BFR spacecraft's shape is reminiscent of the space shuttle, the bus-like USA spaceships that carried astronauts to space 135 times from 1981 to 2011. Both Falcons are now still in development, so hopefully this will not be a rerun of SpaceX's 2017 plan to take private citizens into space.

Virgin's trip will cost about $250,000. Blue Origin denied the report to CNN, saying ticket prices had not yet been set.

Russian and Chinese companies are also working on space tourism plans.

Last week, video of him smoking marijuana during a podcast appearance sent Tesla shares tumbling.

It consists of a massive rocket booster that promises to out-power any that has ever been built and a towering spacecraft, nicknamed BFS for Big Falcon Spaceship, that will vault out of the Earth's atmosphere.

  • Joey Payne