Japanese to be Elon Musk's SpaceX 1st moon voyager

Japanese to be Elon Musk's SpaceX 1st moon voyager

Japanese to be Elon Musk's SpaceX 1st moon voyager

The deep-pocketed space explorer is Yusaku Maezawa, a 42-year-old Japanese billionaire and founder of online fashion mall Zozotown.

Musk cautioned at the news conference that SpaceX is not certain about the 2023 timing for the moon tourism mission.

Maezawa referred to Earth's longtime love affair with the moon, Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", and Van Gogh "Starry Night", and other works of art that have been inspired by the moon, "our planet's constant partner".

Yusaku Maezawa paid $110.5 million for "Untitled" by Jean-Michel Basquiat a year ago.

He said, 'I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon.

While Maezawa is relatively unknown outside the archipelago and the art world, he's guaranteed to become more famous with his plan to fly to Earth's biggest satellite with a cabal of artists. The mission isn't scheduled to launch until 2023. The billionaire said he hopes the group will include a musician, sculptor, painter, film director, dancer, photographer, architect, novelist, and fashion designer.

Speaking to the crowd, Mr Maezawa said the possibility of flying to the Moon was a "lifelong dream".

Now the Elon Musk show returned to the sprawling SpaceX headquarters outside Los Angeles, where the company will - whether intentionally or not - provide a prime-time diversion to the troubles surrounding its celebrity chief executive by providing details about its long-anticipated moon shot.

Musk described Maezawa as incredibly courageous, and said his desire to participate in and pay for this trip restored Musk's faith in humanity. Musk estimated the BFR development will cost around $5 billion. According to the travel agency SpaceAdventures, seven space tourists have booked tickets aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS, but the last of those trips occurred in 2009. The price for a SpaceX lunar mission is likely hefty, though Musk pointed out, "It's going to be free for the artists".

That would fulfill Elon Musk's goal of making humanity a multiplanetary species.

Musk said the two wannabe spacefarers had paid a deposit for their now-abandoned 2018 Moon trip.

After that, the BFR will move on to larger scale tests - with Mr. Musk noting that the entire BFR system will be tested in an uncrewed configuration before Maezawa and his fellow passengers embark on their voyage around the moon. The new design looks a bit like a streamlined, futuristic version of a NASA space shuttle. Twenty-four men flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, and half of them made it to the lunar surface. The spacecraft is meant to buzz around the moon without landing.

Of course, the craft is very far from completion and Musk has repeatedly set aspirational timelines for its development that never panned out, so this is all more or less conceptual. The vehicle is now under development at the Los Angeles Port.

"He stepped forward", Musk added.

When asked about Boeing Co CEO Dennis Muilenburg's prediction that the first humans will be carried to Mars on a Boeing rocket, Musk responded, "Game on", to the sound of cheers from employees assembled at the event.

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