Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to become moon space tourist

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to become moon space tourist

The billionaire founder of online Japanese clothing retailer Zozotown will become the first person to tour the moon aboard SpaceX's yet-to-be-developed Big Falcon Rocket, the aerospace company's CEO, Elon Musk, announced.

The trip is expected to take off in 2023 using the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket, the most powerful rocket flying today.

Mr Maezawa's identity was revealed at an event on Monday evening at the company's headquarters and rocket factory in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.

He intends to take six to eight people with him on his lunar trip, including a combination of painters, musicians, dancers, photographers, film directors, fashion designers, and architects, reports Bloomberg.

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. But Maezawa's net worth is estimated at just shy of three billion by Forbes, and Musk said the fashion magnate's deposit for the trip was "significant", i.e. likely in the tens or even hundreds of millions.

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Musk, a master showman, is adept at inspiring a massive audience of followers for his pursuit of electric cars and other clean-energy endeavors critical to combating global warming.

While space flight is a more risky proposition - with Maezawa in his late 40s by 2023 - he said there are no training plans yet in place.

He wondered on stage what John Lennon, Coco Chanel, Michael Jackson or Andy Warhol would have created had they seen the Moon up close.

In a video promoting Dear Moon, which is aptly set to Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune, the project is described as "awe-inspiring".

"If you hear from me, please say yes", the Japanese tycoon pleaded.

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Maezawa then said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah - please, please". In a recent episode of This American Life, he said he was entirely unmoved by the concept of space travel, the idea of traveling to the moon, and what those of us on Earth might think of as the beauty of space.

Near the end of the 70-minute presentation, Maezawa also offered a seat on the vehicle to Musk, who wants to extend humanity throughout the solar system but has been rather circumspect on his own personal spaceflight inclinations. Musk continues to maintain Commercial Crew as a priority for SpaceX now.

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

"He stepped forward to do it". The comment caused Tesla's stock to soar, and Musk said Tesla would remain public a few days later. "We are honoured that he chose us".

The company noted that the trip will last about a week. "This is not us choosing him". He is best known elsewhere for paying a record $110 million previous year for a 1982 painting by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat.

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