Japan fashion billionaire Maezawa picked by SpaceX for moon flight

Carlton Robbins
September 18, 2018

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa stood before the audience gathered at SpaceX headquarters Monday evening and was greeted by cheers when he echoed a line from a famous speech by President John F. Kennedy, proclaiming "I choose to go to the moon". These people will hail from a variety of disciplines, potentially including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicans, film directors, fashion designers, architects and more, he said.

He followed that up on Sunday with tweets showing new artist renderings of the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that Musk promises will shuttle the passenger to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, using the hashtag #OccupyMars.

"How many people would've looked at SpaceX in 2008 and imagined that in 2018 we'd be where we are?"

On September 13, SpaceX revealed that it had signed a private passenger to fly around the moon on its Big Falcon Rocket, though it wouldn't reveal who that passenger was until September 17.

He will be the first person to travel to the moon since the United States' Apollo missions ended in 1972. "In order to minimize the development risk and cost, we chose to "commonize" the engine between the booster and ship", Musk said, adding that Raptor engines that are optimized for vacuum conditions could be added back in later.

Looping a human around the moon is just the first stage of a plan that is targeted on the moon, Mars, Jupiter and beyond. Two years later would mark the last time NASA astronauts would visit the lunar surface.

SpaceX will announce who that person is Monday night at 9PM EDT.

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

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'I will make this a meaningful journey with SpaceX on the BFR launch vehicle'. There is a chance something could go wrong'.

Musk said the BFR is still in development and will make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers.

The response tweet sent Musk's fanbase into a myriad of speculations.

The spacecraft will continue on toward the Moon, powered by its own engines.

"The reason for creating SpaceX was to accelerate the advent of humanity becoming a space bearing civilisations, to advance rocket technology to become a multiplanet species and becoming a true space bearing species", Musk said. A 90-minute flight costs $250,000.

The era of space tourism began in 2001 when California businessman Dennis Tito paid for a journey on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station.

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

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