Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Elon Musk and SpaceX announce 1st tourist for ‘moon loop’

Elon Musk and SpaceX announce 1st tourist for ‘moon loop’

Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese entrepreneur, purchased an entire BFR rocket with plans to ask a handful of artists to join him on his journey - artists who can then create works to inspire others to dream.

In a webcast in the past hour, SpaceX supremo Elon Musk revealed that the passenger is none other than Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and the flight will hopefully take place by 2023 at the latest.

Of Maezawa, Elon Musk said "He chose us - we did not chose him".

But Musk threw a curve ball during a Falcon Heavy press conference earlier this year when he told reporters that, for the time being, SpaceX had no plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. Or Andy Warhol or Michael Jackson or John Lennon? "This is not us choosing him". "When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing", Musk said. The 180-foot-long (55 m) spaceship can accommodate 100 people, but SpaceX wants to keep numbers way down on the lunar flyaround, Musk said.

SpaceX has revealed the name of the passenger who has paid for a circumlunar navigation voyage aboard the company's under construction BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) vehicle.

The mission will not involve a lunar landing.

The mission won't land on the surface of the moon but will ferry Maezawa and his artist crewmates around Earth's natural satellite.

SpaceX BFR moon trajectory

Only 24 humans have been to the moon in history. The only catch is that they create something to honor their time aboard the BFR and for the moon trip.

The space agency is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023. The space agency aims to build a gateway in the vicinity of the moon, complete with staff, during the 2020s. SpaceX's ability to reach Mars and set up an outpost will depend on it. In 2012, he started the Tokyo-based Contemporary Art Foundation to support young artists.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk outlined a somewhat different mission a year ago. While the trip to the moon is, in and of itself, a fairly bold undertaking, realistically it's just the first step towards Musk's ultimate goal of being the person that facilitated humanity's move to living on two separate planets. "It has so much advanced technology", he said.

Maezawa - described by SpaceX as a "fashion innovator" and "globally recognized art curator" - will be the first human to embark on a lunar mission since 1972, when the last Apollo mission went down. The moon trip would last four to five days, he said. Musk has designs on sending spacecraft to Mars and establishing a colony there.

SpaceX has not talked much about putting private citizens in space since February 2017.

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behavior and the struggles of his Tesla electric auto company to deliver.

Two high-level executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Musk on Monday. And last month he tweeted that his new jet's interior is being fashioned by luxury label Hermes.

The lawsuit brought by Vernon Unsworth, who helped with the rescue of 12 Thai teenagers from a flooded cave in July, seeks $75,000 (£57,000) in compensation and an injunction against Mr Musk to stop further allegations.

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