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

Rosemary Collier
September 18, 2018

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks today at an event to announce the name of the person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon in Hawthorne, Calif.

About one year after that, in February of this year, SpaceX debuted the long-awaited Falcon Heavy, which became the world's most powerful operational launch vehicle.

He said during a press conference that he planned to take six to eight artists with him on the mission.

U.S. private space firm SpaceX has announced that the company's first private passenger to the Moon will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber.

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'When you are pushing the frontier, it is not a sure thing.

Maezawa declined to say how much he's paying for the flight, but Musk said it'll be free for the artists. The moon trip would last four to five days, he said.

The as-of-yet-unnamed patron will be paying a huge price for the privilege of traveling around the Moon, and SpaceX has a huge job ahead of it to actually make the trip happen.

Like SpaceX's existing rockets, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, the first stage can detach from the rest of the rocket and return to Earth for an upright landing. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early a year ago to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

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SpaceX has already contributed to space ventures by privately developing a liquid-fuel launch vehicle that orbited the Earth in 2008.

With SpaceX, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, the SpaceX passenger will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels. "But we're going to do everything humanly possible to bring it to flight as fast as we can and as safely as we can". Blue Origin's price has not been revealed.

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.

Last week, video of him smoking marijuana during a podcast appearance sent Tesla shares tumbling.

Before revealing Maezawa's mission to the Moon, Musk gave a heartfelt introduction as to why SpaceX exists in the first place. SpaceX hasn't yet launched any humans into space, though it has spent years working toward that goal.

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