Elon Musk Reveals First SpaceX Passenger for Trip Around the Moon

Audrey Hill
September 19, 2018

"This has done a lot to restore my faith in humanity - that somebody's willing to do this", Musk said.

Elon Musk has revealed the identity of the billionaire who has paid to fly around the moon in a SpaceX rocket - in what is a giant leap for space tourism.

'This is my lifelong dream'.

"He did suggest, like, maybe that I would join on this trip", Musk said with a laugh, referring to Maezawa.

He has not decided which artists to invite, but will be reaching out to painters, sculptors, film directors, architects, fashion designers and others.

"By the way, if you should hear from me please say yes and accept my invitation", he said.

Yusaku Maezawa, whose net worth is $2.3 billion, is the founder and CEO of Japan's largest e-commerce company Start Today Co. He is also an art collector, shelling out $80 million in 2016 for paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso, Forbes reported.

The exact number of fellow Moon travellers is not certain - 6 to 8 were mentioned. But he won't be alone on the journey; the billionaire is also inviting six to eight artists to join him on his historic flight slated for 2023. They will travel on a free return trajectory, carrying the BFR to the moon's far side, the side never seen from Earth, then back to Earth again. "These masterpieces will continue to inspire all of us".

Until now, Americans are the only ones who have left Earth's orbit. "Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history". Twelve walked on the lunar surface. "In order to minimize the development risk and cost, we made a decision 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. "We are honored that he chose us".

'This is unsafe, to be clear.

While Musk has insisted that the spacecraft is safe, he warned Monday that there "are some chances things could go wrong".

Still, when asked by reporters if Musk would be a passenger, he left the door open to the possibility.

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Musk said. "We should have one and go there".

"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.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah", said Maezawa.

To travel to the Moon, Maezawa will fly on board the company's upcoming BFR rocket, which SpaceX is now building and promises to take humanity to Mars and beyond.

Before revealing Maezawa's mission to the Moon, Musk gave a heartfelt introduction as to why SpaceX exists in the first place.

While the BFR has not been built yet, Musk has said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.

The trip scheduled for 2023 will mark the first time a person has been sent to the moon since the U.S. Apollo program ended in 1972.

The new strategy is to still fly around the moon, but using an even bigger SpaceX rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship.

Musk said Maezawa had outlaid a significant deposit and would have a material impact on the cost of developing the BFR, which he estimated at about $5 billion. Russian Federation halted its space-tourism program in 2010, after the US retired its space shuttle program, leaving fewer seats available to get working astronauts into orbit.

Musk has said he wants the BFR's vessel to be able to hold around 100 people, and that the launch system could one day be used to colonize the Moon and Mars in order to make humans a "multi-planetary" species.

And the name of that lucky space tourist? A 90-minute flight costs $250,000. Blue Origin denied the report to CNN, saying ticket prices had not yet been set.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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