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Japanese Billionaire Will Be the First Private Passenger of SpaceX's Falcon Rocket

22 September, 2018, 05:14 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • Automobile

But both said that Maezawa has already made a substantial down payment, and that he's buying the entire flight (meaning the artists will fly for free). Elon Musk does not yet have a rocket that can circle the moon but does have a passenger.

Maezawa, 42, is the founder and CEO of Zozo, the largest online fashion retailer in Japan. He said he will choose six to eight artists, from painters and sculptors to fashion designers and architects, to share the experience with him - and, ultimately, with all of us.

Each artist invited by Maezawa will be asked to create a work after they return based on their experience.

The artists Maezawa plans to take on his voyage to the moon have not been named. With enough thrust to carry almost a hundred people all the way to Mars, it's safe to say it won't be much of a problem to carry six-eight artists including crew to the moon and back. The company's Space Dragon crew capsule, which is meant to take astronauts to the International Space Station, missed an initial target date of 2017 and won't see a manned test until 2019. As the Times noted, the Falcon Heavy has undergone only one live test and SpaceX no longer plans to certify it for human flight.

Maezawa said Monday that the SpaceX BFR rocket will make the trip in 2023.

In the meantime, Maezawa and Musk have promised to update the public with the latest updates about the Moon mission in the coming years.

The amount Maezawa is paying for the trip was not disclosed, but he told Reuters the total sum was "much higher" than the cost of a Basquiat painting.


In 2017, Musk stated, "We want to have one booster and ship that replaces Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon". The rocket won't land on the surface of the moon, but will instead orbit around it.

"If I'm going to go to space, I'd rather go as far as I can", he said. "I don't know", Musk said. "He stepped forward", Musk added.

"I know that sounds insane, and we don't usually meet our time lines, but I wanted you to know at least order of magnitude, that's what we're thinking", Shotwell said.

The flight will be made aboard the Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS). SpaceX, which is under contract by NASA to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station, recently announced it had to delay that first flight to April of next year.

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon.

But for now, the company has yet to fly a human into space. SpaceX's other major venture thus far, the Falcon Heavy, which is a reusable heavy lift launch vehicle, took almost twice as long to complete than expected.

With SpaceX, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, Maezawa will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels.

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