SpaceX gets first private passenger for moon trip

Pablo Tucker
September 18, 2018

SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell gave a more generous time frame for BFR's debut during a TED Talk in April, saying it would launch "within a decade".

It's not clear whether the BFR tourism mission has any link to an announcement SpaceX made in February 2017.

On Monday, Mr Musk unveiled new artist impressions of the BFR and the spaceship which will carry passengers around the Moon. (AP) The Japanese billionaire will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development.

At the time, SpaceX was to have used its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket and the crewed version of the existing Dragon spacecraft.

Maezawa's project will be called Dear Moon.

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and past year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5million. The craft will "take off, have booster separation, go to parking orbit, do a trans-Lunar injection, fly around the Moon and then come back and land", he said.

Maezawa announced on Monday that he plans to select six to eight artists to accompany him on his journey around the moon. The mission isn't scheduled to launch until 2023. These people will hail from a variety of disciplines, potentially including painters, sculptors, photographers, musicans, film directors, fashion designers, architects and more, he said. "And what will they create?"

He says it's been his lifelong dream to go into space.

Yusaku Maezawa said his heart was already racing just thinking about the trip.

Let's keep in mind a private tourist visited the International Space Station in 2002 at a cost of $20 million (£15.2 million, AU$28 million). He also said he hasn't decided who will join him in 2023 for the launch.

That now stands to change with BFR and signals a synergy between SpaceX and Maezawa in terms of using the BFR architecture to make space accessible to everyone.

Maezawa's trip to the moon will be made on board a BFR, which is now still in development. The new design looks a bit like a streamlined, futuristic version of a NASA space shuttle.

Maezawa - described by SpaceX as a "fashion innovator" and "globally recognized art curator" - will be the first human to embark on a lunar mission since 1972, when the last Apollo mission went down. It'll be 1100 cubic metres in total, and the payload will be similar to that of Falcon 9, about 100 metric tonnes (to the surface of Mars).

The spacecraft will continue on toward the Moon, powered by its own engines.

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

The BFR is an ambitious launch system that's being prototyped at the Port of Los Angeles. The vehicle also features three larger fins in the aft section, with landing legs integrated into them, and a pair of forward funs than can move.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses the latest version of his vision for the BFR rocket.

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