SpaceX will take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the Moon

SpaceX will take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the Moon

SpaceX will take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the Moon

SpaceX previously announced plans to eventually use Falcon Heavy to launch paying space tourists on a trip around the moon, but Musk said in February he was inclined to reserve that mission for the BFR. The last time humans made the journey was in 1972, during the Apollo 17 mission crewed by NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt and Ronald Evans.

"I want to share this experience and things with as many people as possible", Maezawa told a news conference. "I choose to go to the moon with artists!" said at the unveiling. He wants to do a circuit of the Moon, and take six to eight artists with him - be they painters, sculptors, musicians, or architects - and in return for the trip they must create art to inspire humanity.

Maezawa would not reveal how much his ticket had cost him - but said it was considerably more than what he had spent on the Basquiat painting.

The event was held at the company's Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters, conveniently located next to a design shop for Tesla, Musk's other company. "Please don't say no", Maezawa said. "This is no walk in the park", Musk said. Theoretically, it's capable of carrying a 150 ton payload Mars and returning with 50 tons on board, but its first flight will be significantly less burdened.

The BFR's development cost should reach $5 billion, Musk revealed.

But Musk cautioned that SpaceX may not meet its 2023 timeline for the lunar mission.

He added: "It's not 100% certain that we succeed in getting this to flight".

"He's paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster", Musk said on Monday.

SpaceX announced September 17 that a Japanese billionaire will be paying an undisclosed but significant sum to buy a flight of the company's next-generation rocket for a flight around the moon carrying a group of artists.

An unconventional entrepreneur, Maezawa, the chief executive of Start Today Co. that runs the shopping site, has said "I dislike competing with others".

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The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, an American businessman who in 2001 paid some $20million to fly on a Russian spaceship to the International Space Station.

"As far as me going, I'm not sure", Musk responded.

Mr Maezawa made headlines previous year after paying $110.5m (£85.4m) for a painting by the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat at an auction in NY.

"There could be some natural or man made event that ends life as we know it", he said.

Last year, Musk said the BFR's admittedly "ambitious" goal was to make a test flight to Mars in 2022, followed by a crewed flight to the Red Planet in 2024.

The BFR is SpaceX's next generation spacecraft and launch vehicle system, set to be used along with the company's current suite of hardware like the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.

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

The Musk-led space company called the announcement "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-priced reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

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