Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Elon Musk names Japanese billionaire for around-the-moon space trip

Elon Musk names Japanese billionaire for around-the-moon space trip

He is the first to book a trip as a private passenger with the commercial space company for a voyage that hasn't been attempted since NASA's Apollo missions ended in 1972. He paid an unspecified amount of money for the privilege.

Yusaku Maezawa, 42, who runs Japanese clothing shopping site Zozotown, is set to travel on a Big Falcon Rocket spaceship that is now being developed, the US space company said. "This is my lifelong dream".

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that Yusaku would be "bringing eight (brave) artists & cultural figures with him on the journey around the moon".

While Maezawa says he hasn't chosen the artists he'd like to invite on this trip, but he would prefer creative minds from different fields, such as painters, musicians, film directors, dancer, etc.

"I'm really excited, really honored", he said.

Maezawa then said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah - please, please".

Maezawa, 42, is the founder and CEO of Zozo, the largest online fashion retailer in Japan. He drew attention a year ago with the purchase of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting for $110.5 million. And he also allowed him to take on his trip eight yet unnamed "artists and cultural figures". "Together with Earth's top artists, I will be heading to the Moon... just a little earlier than everyone else", Maezawa wrote on his website for the project, #dearMoon. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us'. He has accused, without proof, one of the cave divers who participated in the rescue of a Thai youth soccer team of being a pedophile. It'll be 1100 cubic metres in total, and the payload will be similar to that of Falcon 9, about 100 metric tonnes (to the surface of Mars).

After an uncrewed demonstration flight this fall and an in-flight abort test, U.S. Air Force Colonel Bob Behnken and former Marine Corps test pilot Doug Hurley will be the first two astronauts to fly in SpaceX's Crew Dragon.

Maezawa revealed that he has purchased all seats on the first crewed flight of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket - a new launch system that's being created to colonize Mars. Going forward, Musk and Maezawa will figure out details like training, but "nothing's written in stone".

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Maezawa said, 'Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon!

"This is unsafe, to be clear. This is no walk in the park", Musk said of the mission.

Musk has not revealed how much his "Lunar BFR Mission" will cost in the long run, but Maezawa surely won't have a hard time footing the bill. There is a chance something could go wrong'.

Still, when asked by reporters if Musk would be a passenger, he left the door open to the possibility.

Of course, the craft is very far from completion and Musk has repeatedly set aspirational timelines for its development that never panned out, so this is all more or less conceptual. "It makes a difference", Musk said. Maezawa said during an announcement Monday evening.

"Maybe we'll both be on it", Mr Musk said with a smile.

The ride will take place aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which may not be ready for human flight for five years at least, Musk said.

The Japanese billionaire who will become the first ever private tourist to fly around the moon.

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