SpaceX's first private passenger is Japanese fashion magnate Maezawa

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

Maezawa, a 42-year-old from Japan, is a billionaire who founded Zozotown, an online retail shop.

Tonight, Space X is planning to announce the first passenger who will fly around the moon aboard their new BFR rocket.

"I choose to go to the moon with artists", Maezawa said Monday.

At the time, SpaceX said two people signed a deal with SpaceX to make a trip around the moon aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket.

Before he introduced Maezawa, Musk outlined his company's space travel goals, warning of a possible event that could "end civilization", adding, "We should take action and become a multi-planet civilization as soon as possible".

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

SpaceX announced September 17 that a Japanese billionaire will be paying an undisclosed but significant sum to buy a flight of the company's next-generation rocket for a flight around the moon carrying a group of artists.

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Two high executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Musk on Monday.

However, the timeline for this launch remains unclear, and it relies on a rocket that hasn't been built yet. Nevertheless, SpaceX is pressing on, and apparently feels confident enough in its work that it is comfortable parading its first paying private space "tourist" in front of the world. The BFR, as it is known, is in development, possibly years from flying.

The flight will only launch after the completion of BFR hopper tests, which Mr. Musk confirmed are still targeted to begin next year.

Its plan to fly tourists around the moon has also been delayed. "We're definitely not sure" about the 2023 schedule for the circumlunar mission, he said.

Setbacks and delays, however, don't deter Musk or his relentless company, which has grown to 7,000 employees. Theoretically, it's capable of carrying a 150 ton payload Mars and returning with 50 tons on board, but its first flight will be significantly less burdened. It has disrupted the launch market, winning not just billions in NASA contracts but also contracts from the Pentagon. The company has been eyeing space tourism, previously stating that it had received sizable deposits from a couple of unnamed individuals keen on traveling into space.

"All of that noise in the background, that is the sound of unbelievable things happening", NASA astronaut Victor Glover said.

In 2016, Musk predicted that one of his Dragon crew capsules would land on Mars this year - although that particular project was abandoned. "That you can go".

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