In an event held on Monday at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, Elon Musk announced that Yusaku Maezawa, a 42-year-old art collector and CEO of Japanese fashion retailer Zozotown, would be the world’s first private passenger to make trip around the moon on a mission planned for 2023. Maezawa will be the first person to go to the moon since the U.S. Apollo missions ended in 1972.
With this declaration SpaceX is taking another major step in the race to commercialize space travel. They planned to send a private passenger on a journey to the moon, using a giant rocket that could someday carry colonists to Mars.
Before introduction of Yusaku, Musk sketched out his company’s space travel goals, and said, “We should take action and become a multi-planet civilization as soon as possible.
SpaceX announced earlier in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But now, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead.
BFR is a 35-story tall rocket designed to launch and land like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but it would be also carrying number of people instead of satellites only. The Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) has not yet been built.
“Finally, I can say, I can tell you that I choose to go to the moon,” Maezawa said after joining the SpaceX CEO on stage. “This is my lifelong dream, ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,”
He further shared his plan of inviting six to eight artists from different fields to join him on the historic week long trip, which he named as “Dear Moon” project. He added that he got the idea after thinking about how seeing the moon up close might affect some of his favorite artists. He hasn’t decided which artists to bring yet.
“These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” said Maezawa.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next-generation rocket. Musk declined to reveal the amount Maezawa paid for the mission, saying he was “not disclosing the amount but he’s paying a very significant amount of money.”
“To be clear. This is dangerous … it’s not a sure thing … there are some chances things could go wrong,” Musk reiterated.