September 17, 2018
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be the first private passenger on a solo SpaceX rocket trip around the moon.
Elon Musks SpaceX to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on journey around the moon
The SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, company founder Elon Musk announced at an event at SpaceX headquarters near Los Angeles.
Mr Maezawa, the 42-year-old founder of clothes retailer Zozo, said it had been his lifelong dream to go into space and that just thinking about the journey got his heart racing.
He said he would invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people on the week-long journey in 2023.
"I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself," he said.

Wearing a blue sports jacket over a white T-shirt printed with a work by the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mr Maezawa said he often mused about what artists like Basquiat or Andy Warhol might have come up with if they had travelled into space.
"I wish to create amazing works of art for humankind," he added.
Elon Musks SpaceX to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on journey around the moon
Mr Maezawa did not immediately say who would be on his guest list for the flight, but in response to a question from a reporter he said he would consider inviting Mr Musk.
"Maybe we'll both be on it," Mr Musk said with a smile.

He's paying 'a lot of money' for the trip
The BFR is still in development and will make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers.
The reusable 118-metre rocket will have its own dedicated passenger ship, but the mission will not involve a lunar landing. The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 382,500 kilometres.
Mr Maezawa said he wanted his guests for the lunar orbit "to see the moon up close, and the Earth in full view, and create work to reflect their experience."
Mr Musk said the entrepreneur, founder of Japan's largest retail website and one the country's richest people, would pay "a lot of money" for the trip, but declined to disclose the exact amount.
Mr Maezawa came to SpaceX with the idea for the group flight, Mr Musk said.

NASA
to build gateway to the moon
Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA's Apollo program, in which 24 men flew to the moon from 1968 to 1972 and half of them made it to the lunar surface.
NASA is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023.
The US space agency also aims to build a staffed gateway near the moon during the 2020s.
The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond.
Mr Musk outlined a somewhat different SpaceX mission last year.
He said then that two people who knew each other approached the company about a week-long flight to the moon and back.
He had said that the trip would happen this year. Mr Musk did not name the clients last year or say how much they would pay.
That original mission would have used a Falcon Heavy rocket — the most powerful rocket flying today — and a Dragon crew capsule similar to the one NASA astronauts will use to fly to the International Space Station as early as next year.
The space tourism era is already well underway
Elon Musks SpaceX to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on journey around the moon
The era of space tourism began in 2001 when California businessman Dennis Tito paid for a journey on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station.
The trip was organised by the Virginia-based company Space Adventures, which has since sent several more paying customers on spaceflights.
SpaceX already has a long list of firsts, with its sights ultimately set on Mars.
It became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and safely return it to Earth in 2010, and the first commercial enterprise to fly to the space station in 2012 on a supply mission.
Mr Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behaviour and the struggles of his Tesla electric car company.
He recently criticised analysts during a Tesla earnings conference call, labelled a British diver in the recent Thai cave rescue drama a "pedo", smoked what appeared to be marijuana during a podcast interview, and tweeted that he had funding to take Tesla private but then announced the deal was off.
Two high-ranking executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Mr Musk on Monday.
Last month Mr Musk told the New York Times he was overwhelmed by job stress.
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