Watch SpaceX introduce its first Moon trip passenger live

Jo Lloyd
September 18, 2018

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.

The company signed Maezawa to fly on its BFR launch vehicle on Thursday, in what would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

Musk said the entrepreneur, founder of Japan's largest retail website Zozotown and one the country's richest people, will pay "a lot of money" for the trip, but declined to disclose the exact amount.

Mr Musk has said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024.

Announced a year ago, the BFR ship will sit 118 metres long - previously announced as 106 metres (347 feet) long - and Musk has said the ship will contain up to 40 cabins which will have enough space for 100 people.

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

"Lasting about a week, the journey will come as close as 125 miles to the Moon's surface", SpaceX tweeted, "before completing lunar transit and returning back to Earth".

Elon Musk attempted to write the next chapter in his quest to open up space to the masses by announcing on Monday night the first paying tourist that his company, SpaceX, would fly on a trip around the moon.

Earlier this year, on February 6, the Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, launching a red Tesla Roadster driven by a Starman mannequin.

"It will have a material effect on paying for the BFR", Musk stated Monday. The space agency also aims to build a staffed gateway near the moon during the 2020s.

No guidance has been given on when the moon flight could happen.

After giving an update on the BFR's overall architectural changes (for which NASASpaceflight will publish an in-depth article later), Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and Lead Designer at SpaceX, introduced the person who purchased an entire BFR for a flight around the moon. The launch vehicle is likely still many years away from its inaugural flight. (On Monday, the diver sued him for defamation.) Then he vowed to take Tesla private, saying that the "funding was secured", only to reverse himself shortly afterward. Last month he told the New York Times he was overwhelmed by job stress.

SpaceX has had a string of successful rocket launches, but that has been overshadowed by the struggles of Musk's Tesla electric auto company to deliver and his behavior.

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