Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA’s Apollo program.
Maezawa won’t go alone.
“I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself”, said Maezawa, wearing a blue sports jacket over a white T-shirt with printed with a work by the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Those artists will get a free ride with Maezawa, but when they return to Earth, he hopes they will create art projects based on their time on lunar soil.
The BFR will eventually replace Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, but not until all of SpaceX’s customers are on board, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in April.
Maezawa is worth an estimated $2.9 billion, according to Forbes, and founded Japan’s largest online fashion retailer.
Mr Musk has said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024.
It’s unclear how much Maezawa paid for the seats.
Yusaku Maezawa said his heart was already racing just thinking about the trip.
Musk stressed that the mission will be unsafe and commended Maezawa for his bravery.
“It’s risky to be clear”, Musk said. “You have to set some kind of date that’s the things-go-right date”.
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. He added he will invite 6-8 artists for the trip. And he thanked Maezawa for providing a key piece of funding toward that end.
The BFR name may also change, Musk said. “It’s a great thing”. The fully reusable BFR is designed for trips around Earth, to Mars and beyond.
According to Musk’s presentation [PDF] a year ago, the mighty BFR will stand 118 metres tall when erected on its launchpad, and will be able to lift 150 tons into low Earth orbit with the help of a massive central booster, making it the most powerful rocket ever to fly.
Falcon Heavy’s maiden flight was shown as part of SpaceX’s evolution towards BFR.
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.
This goes without saying, but the trip isn’t exactly happening tomorrow.
A former drummer in a punk band, Maezawa’s moon flight is tentatively planned for 2023 aboard SpaceX’s forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights. The launch is scheduled to happen in 2023. Those tests will take the form of progressively higher up-and-down flights at an earthly launch facility.
The lucky travel participants haven’t been chosen yet, but there’s still time to decide: it’ll be years before the BFR takes off on its week-long voyage.