SpaceX to announce 1st private moon flight passenger

Terry Joseph
September 19, 2018

The billionaire chief executive of electric auto maker Tesla Inc, Musk said the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that he promises will shuttle passengers to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, could be conducting its first orbital flights in two to three years.

"No matter what, I wanted to do different things compared to other people", Maezawa said.

"Finally I can tell you that I have chosen to go to the moon" with artists, Maezawa said.

His dedication to art also extends to the Moon: Maezawa announced on Monday that he will foot the bill for six to eight artists to join him on his travel in space in 2023.

"Ever since I was a kid, I've loved the moon", Maezawa said. On coming back to the Earth, these artists will be expected to create masterpieces inspired by the Moon which in turn would "inspire the dreamer within all of us". A video presentation about him said he believes art can help usher in world peace.

Musk revealed Maezawa's identity at a press conference from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. "That will change significantly in years to come", he said.

The plan is to ready it for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024.

Maezawa will take the journey on SpaceX's upcoming Big Falcon Rocket as early as 2023.

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.

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

Oh, and he also spends millions of dollars collecting valuable works of art, and is keen to inspire artists with this monumental spaceflight - so he's offering free seats to creators on board SpaceX' BFR rocket.

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

Maezawa made his fortune by founding the wildly popular shopping site Zozotown. "I thought long and hard about how it would be very valuable to become the first private passenger to go to the moon".

Read everything we know about the BFR and its spaceship design here.

According to the New York Times, Maezawa "may be best known" for his $US110 ($154) million purchase of a 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of a skull, a sum that his sister Lisane Basquiat referred to as leaving the family "speechless". "In order to minimize the development risk and cost, we chose to "commonize" the engine between the booster and ship", Musk said, adding that Raptor engines that are optimized for vacuum conditions could be added back in later.

The tourism announcement comes as the company is racing to meet a tight deadline to start flying astronauts to and from the International Space Station aboard its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft.

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

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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