Japanese entrepreneur and billionaire Yusaka Maezawa will be the 1st private citizen to take a flight around the moon in SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket estimated with 240,000-mile journey slated for as early as 2023.
In an exciting speech during the SpaceX event at the company’s headquarters in near Los Angeles, Maezawa exclaimed: “I choose to go to the moon!”
If SpaceX is successful in its testing and development of the BFR which has a long road ahead, Maezawa will be the first passenger to travel to the moon since the 1972 Apollo mission conducted by the United States. Only 24 persons have been to the moon. The trip will last about 7 days and come as close as 125 miles to the moon’s surface before completing lunar voyage and returning back to Earth, according to SpaceX.
“He is the best adventure, I think.” Elon Musk said of Maezawa during a Q&A with the media after the announcement.
Maezawa has already accomplished every possible career in life. He’s an entrepreneur and musician, artist, designer, art collector and the CEO and founder of online fashion retailer Zozotown.
“This is my lifelong dream,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid I loved the moon, just staring at the moon it filled my imagination. It’s always there and continues to inspire.”
Maezawa said he wants to bring eight artists with him during the flight so they’ll be inspired to create the moon and space-inspired works that show their experience. He is calling the project #dearMoon. “Their masterpieces will inspire the dreamer in all of us,” he said, adding he has not decided who will join him on the voyage. He would like artists to be a mix of photographers, painters, architects, and musicians.
SpaceX has a lot to accomplish and considerable capital to raise before BFR sends Maezawa into space. Just 5% of SpaceX’s resources are currently dedicated to the BFR. It’s estimated to cost $5 billion to develop the BFR.
Neither Maezawa or Musk would disclose how much he is paying. Although Musk called him the real deal and noted he was paying “a lot of money.”
The BFR has not yet been built. Musk said the success of the project will depend on sources of revenue, including paying customers. The BFR could fit 100 people, but Musk said it makes sense to have about a dozen people on the first manned flight along with extra supplies.
Musk teased the announcement and a new-looking BFR design in a tweet Thursday evening, that it SpaceX had “signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle.” This is the third design that SpaceX has floated for BFR. This is “the final iteration in terms of broad architectural designs for BFR,” Musk said Monday night.
Musk revealed a few more details about the BFR during the Monday night event. The BFR design shown Monday is 118 meters long two-stage reusable spaceship that will be capable of taking a 100-metric ton payload to Mars.
SpaceX still plans to have “hopper” test flights of the BFR spaceship next year, followed by high-altitude, high-velocity flights in 2020.
The BFR, meant to stand for Big Falcon Rocket or anything else that might spring to mind, is designed to be a sustainable interplanetary spaceship. It will eventually replace SpaceX’s other rockets such as Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.
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