Japanese Billionaire to Be SpaceX’s First Passenger to the Moon

18 September, 2018, 07:44 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX.                  Video screenshot by CNET

'This is my lifelong dream'.

Japanese billionaire, entrepreneur and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42, announced: "I choose to go to the Moon".

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and a year ago, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5million.

He has not decided which artists to invite, but will be reaching out to painters, sculptors, film directors, architects, fashion designers and others. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us'.

Announced to applause it was revealed that Yusaku Maezawa, from Japan, would be the first private passenger to embark on a SpaceX journey.

The images of the BFR show a rocket with fins on the side.

Until now, Americans are the only ones who have left Earth's orbit.

Only 24 humans have visited the Moon - all of them Americans. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond.

The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, an American businessman who in 2001 paid some $20million to fly on a Russian spaceship to the International Space Station.

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"Its not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight", Musk said of the lunar mission. Going forward, Musk and Maezawa will figure out details like training, but "nothing's written in stone". 'We are honored that he chose us'.

Neither Maezawa nor Musk would disclose the price of the flight, but Musk said that Maezawa - who had been one of the two customers for SpaceX's earlier plans for a circumlunar flight on a Dragon announced almost 18 months ago, but since shelved - had already made a down payment.

'This is risky, to be clear. "This is not walk in the park here". "It's not a sure thing". The Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) has not yet been built.

The Moon is about 385,000 km away from Earth and the last time an astronaut travelled there was in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission. I thought long and hard about how to be able to become the first private passenger to go to the Moon.

But Musk threw a curve ball during a Falcon Heavy press conference earlier this year when he told reporters that, for the time being, SpaceX had no plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.

The spacecraft will continue on toward the Moon, powered by its own engines. That design is likely to continue undergoing major shifts well beyond the commencement of integrated Grasshopper-style hop tests of BFR's spaceship upper stage (known as BFS), as flight-testing the rocket's major components will nearly invariably result in design changes, be it major or minor. However, Musk said that rocket would not be certified to carry people, which ruled out a round-the-moon trip on a Falcon Heavy.

The goal, he said during that Mars announcement two years ago, was to "make Mars seem possible. Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest, and we expect more to follow".

Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Motors, has drawn attention in recent months over his erratic behavior.

The BFR will eventually replace Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, but not until all of SpaceX's customers are on board, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in April. 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.

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