Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to be SpaceX’s first Moon tourist

Cristina Cross
September 19, 2018

Yusaku Maezawa is the first passenger to book a trip to the moon on a SpaceX rocket.

He is also an art enthusiast and said he planned to invite six to eight artists from around the world to accompany him on his trip to the moon, drawing them from a global pool of painters, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers, and architects. To travel to the Moon, Maezawa will fly on board the company's upcoming BFR rocket, which SpaceX is now building and promises to take humanity to Mars and beyond.

Billionaire Maezawa, founder of online fashion outlet Zozotown, will pay a "material percentage" of the spacecraft's design and construction costs, according to Musk.

I could not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close and at the same time I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself.

An art lover with a vision, the Japanese entrepreneur has chose to not just buy a seat on the rocket, but every seat available-in fact he's already made a down payment that will help with BFR development costs. The artists have not yet been chosen, but part of the project will involve them creating work inspired by their lunar journey after they return to Earth.

His love of art led him to decide to invite artists to come along for the trip, he said.

The rocket dubbed BFR has not been built so any flight is several years away.

However, Elon Musk later said that the trip had been delayed to allow for the production of the BFR.

What does Maezawa's booking mean for SpaceX?

What is known is that the flight is expected to reach a distance from Earth of between 500,000 to 650,000 km (310,685 to 403,890 mi), making Maezawa and his passengers the farthest-travelling humans from Earth. SpaceX, which is under contract by NASA to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station, recently announced it had to delay that first flight to April of next year. "BFR is meant to make people excited about the future".

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"What if Basquiat had gone to space?"

The world's federal space agencies have always mandated a background in some kind of scientific field for minimum consideration in the astronaut corps - excluding artists of all kinds whose fields lay outside engineering and science. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft already shuttle cargo back and forth between Earth and the ISS; the company hopes to use its rockets to get humans into space, too.

Maezawa will take the journey on SpaceX's upcoming Big Falcon Rocket as early as 2023.

SpaceX is on the verge of announcing the name of person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon. "Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest, and we expect more to follow". It was later confirmed the company would remain public.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk outlined a somewhat different mission a year ago.

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

Maezawa isn't going to the moon alone.

"He is, I think, the bravest person and most willing to do so", Musk said, referring to Maezawa.

But it must have been quite a lot, because Elon Musk allowed the Japanese to ride him. Musk thanked Maezawa for his bravery, and for helping to fund the BFR's development with his purchase. "That is the intent of BFR - to make people excited about the future".

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