First SpaceX moon passenger Yusaku Maezawa: Everything you need to know

First SpaceX moon passenger Yusaku Maezawa: Everything you need to know

A former drummer in a punk band, Maezawa's moon flight is tentatively planned for 2023 aboard SpaceX's forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.

Maezawa's interest in the arts is one of the key driving factors in his reasoning to head to the moon.

The announcement was made at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday.

Maezawa and whoever flies with him will join an exclusive club - only two dozen astronauts have ever visited the moon, and no one has been to the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Vice President Mike Pence has advocated a return to the moon, telling the National Space Council in October that it could serve as a steppingstone to Mars. Maezawa is worth an estimated $2.9 billion, according to Forbes, and founded Japan's largest online fashion retailer.

Between six and eight artists will join the expedition called Dear Moon, which is now planned for 2023.

Today SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell was quoted as saying that the company had its "eyes on the prize" for an initial BFR flight to Mars in 2024, although she acknowledged that SpaceX's timelines often slip to the right.

S Korean firms to continue coop. with Iran despite U.S. sanctions
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On its website, SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission", implying there will be more moon trips.

The customer will fly on the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, a new spaceship system that SpaceX is building.

"SpaceX has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle - an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space", SpaceX tweeted last Thursday night.

SpaceX now has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the astronauts living at the ISS, via regular cargo trips on its Dragon spaceship, launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.
Musk said in February that development of the BFR was progressing enough that the Falcon Heavy - a rocket with three times the first-stage engines of SpaceX's workhorse Falcon 9 - would probably not be needed for a two-person lunar tourist trip. The mission is slated to take flight in 2023. Its last rocket, the Falcon Heavy, had its first successful launch almost five years later than planned. SpaceX is about to name the individual who will be first to go around the moon.

The BFR is a long way from reality and Musk himself says he's "not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight".

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