SpaceX to Send Japanese Billionaire to The Moon in 2023

Rosemary Collier
September 20, 2018

SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-priced reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

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

SpaceX is now prototyping the spaceship and other BFR hardware inside a 20,000-square-foot tent at the Port of Los Angeles - at least until a much bigger permanent facility is completed.

I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon. Elon Musk confirmed that the company has already done a few tests on key components of the rocket such as pressure tests of the propellant tanks and ignition tests on the Raptor engines. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said previously he hoped the rocket would be ready for a trip to Mars by 2022. In 2017, SpaceX said two unnamed people had put down large deposits to reserve a spot on the private lunar flight.

SpaceX announced yesterday (Sept. 17) that the Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, who founded the e-commerce company Zozo, has purchased all the seats aboard a BFR vehicle that will launch on a weeklong trek around the moon as early as 2023.

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"I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself", said Mr Maezawa, wearing a blue sports jacket over a white T-shirt with printed with a work by the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"Maybe we'll both be on it", Mr Musk said with a smile.

Musk dropped a huge hint about the identity of the traveller when fans asked him who would be taking part in the mission.

The new strategy is to still fly around the moon, but using an even bigger SpaceX rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship.

On its website, SpaceX is touting the "first passenger on lunar BFR mission", implying there will be more.

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Maezawa appear unfazed, talking about fusing his love of art and expression and a lifelong dream of going into space aboard SpaceX's BFR rocket.

"You could send people back to the Moon" on the Falcon Heavy rocket, Musk said at the time.

But Musk cautioned that SpaceX may not meet its 2023 timeline for the lunar mission.

On Monday, Mr Musk unveiled new artist impressions of the BFR and the spaceship which will carry passengers around the Moon.

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