Moonstruck Japan tycoon to blast off on 1st SpaceX trip

21 September, 2018, 16:00 | Author: Lynette Payne
  • Japanese Billionaire Yasaku Maezawa To Fly Around The Moon With SpaceX

The billionaire founder of online Japanese clothing retailer Zozotown will become the first person to tour the moon aboard SpaceX's yet-to-be-developed Big Falcon Rocket, the aerospace company's CEO, Elon Musk, announced.

He will be inviting six to eight artists, designers, and other creative people on the journey around the moon.

The 42-year-old tech tycoon made headlines Tuesday when SpaceX revealed that Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket, which is still being developed, for a slingshot trip around the moon as soon as 2023. The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 238,000 miles. Even Elon Musk had to be honest about the project, saying, "It's not 100% certain we can bring this to flight".

The billionaire says that he is not going on this lunar trip alone, but that he is going to invite around 8 artists to come with him. Back in May, he spent $110.5 million for Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 painting "Untitled".

"I love art. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing what different artists getting together could bring to life", he said.

"He's a very courageous person to do this", Mr Musk said of the Japanese entrepreneur. "Yeah, maybe we will both be on it".

The BFR (which stands for "Big Falcon Rocket", or "Big F-- Rocket") is created to help humanity settle Mars and other worlds throughout the solar system, Musk has said.

The latest blueprints mark the final major redesign of the rocket, whose development is expected to cost roughly $5 billion, according to Musk.

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

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

NASA is shooting for its own flyby of the moon, with a crew, around 2023. He had set the previous auction record for a Basquiat, in 2016, when he paid $57.3 million.

SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said last week that there was "no chance" that Musk's conduct will impact SpaceX's ability to win contracts, and that there's been "no impact at all" on the level of confidence in him on the part of the closely held company's backers. He also desires to take the artists with him to convert the entire trip into an art project that will be known as #dearMoon.

SpaceX gave no details of the flight but said it would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

Two high-level executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Musk on Monday.

The British diver, Vernon Unsworth, sued Musk for defamation on Monday and is seeking more than $75,000.

"He's paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster", Musk told the crowd. The device wasn't used and in the interview, Unsworth called it a "PR stunt" and said it wouldn't have worked to free the boys who were trapped in the flooded cave.

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