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SpaceX: Japanese Billionaire To Be First “Private Passenger” On Moon Mission


Space Exploration Technologies Corp popularly known as SpaceX, is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services. Its headquarters located in Hawthorne, California. Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars.

Yesterday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk gave an update on the design of SpaceX’s future massive rocket, the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), during an event announcing the first passenger who will fly on the vehicle—Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, a 42-year-old Japanese billionaire and founder of online fashion mall Zozotown, signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next generation rocket.

Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon,” said Yusaku Maezawa, founder of ZoZotown, one of Japan’s largest retail websites. “Just staring at the moon filled my imagination. That is why I could not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close.”

“I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself. That would be a little lonely. I don’t like being alone, so I want to share this experiences with as many people as possible. That is why I choose to go to the moon with artists! I choose to invite artists from around the world on my journey.”

“I could not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close,” Maezawa said. He revealed he purchased all available seats for the BFR lunar mission and plans to invite six to eight artists from around the world to go with him. The mission isn’t scheduled to launch until 2023.

“In 2023 as the host, I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the moon,” he said. “These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. And these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.

The two-stage rocket is 387 feet long. The first stage is powered by 31 advanced Raptor engines burning liquid oxygen and methane. The winged upper stage is 180 feet long, features more than 1,000 cubic meters of pressurized volume and is powered by seven Raptor engines.

Image: SpaceX

Two of its three tail fins will change position during atmospheric entry to control the spacecraft’s orientation, descent rate and trajectory before assuming a nose-up, vertical position and landing upright on its three fins.

“This is dangerous,” Musk said. “This is no walk in the park here. When you’re pushing the frontier, it’s not a sure thing. It’s not like taking an air flight somewhere. There’s some chance something could go wrong (but) we’ll do everything we can to minimise that.”

“It’s going to be very important to test this vehicle thoroughly before putting people on board,” Musk said. “But I can’t wait, I’m super fired up about this. It’s amazing.”

“A person who booked an entire BFR for the planned moon flight, is “a very brave person to do this.”Musk added. 

SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk would not disclose how much Maezawa is paying for the trip, but said it was a “non-trivial” amount that will help fund the company’s new BFR rocket, a huge, futuristic looking finned spacecraft designed to eventually accommodate up to 100 passengers on flights to the moon, Mars or beyond.

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