SpaceX has finally revealed its first space tourist that will circle the moon in the near future.
On Tuesday, SpaceX introduced its first space tourist to the public in its headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The civilian passenger who will fly around the moon is none other than Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Maezawa will board the company’s next-generation rocket for the mission. Though Maezawa will not land on the Moon, his mission will be the first attempt of humankind to return to our planet’s closest neighbor after half a century.
To date, only two dozen humans have ever reached the moon. All 24 were from the United States, and half of the total successfully landed on the lunar surface. The last humans to land on the moon were scientists Harrison ‘Jack’ Schmitt and astronaut Eugene ‘Gene’ Cernan of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
Maezawa’s trip to the moon is scheduled for 2023. He will be boarding SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket or BFR which is still currently under development. The same rocketship will be used by the private space agency to launch its Mars colonization mission.
The Japanese tycoon will travel to the moon on what is known as a free return trajectory. This will put the BFR in a path back to our planet after circling the far side of the space satellite.
“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,” Maezawa was quoted as saying during an interview.
It should be remembered that back in 2017, Musk had announced that SpaceX would be sending two passengers around the moon through the Crew Dragon capsule which will be launched by the Falcon Heavy rocket. However, the space firm changed its plans and announced earlier this year that it would be focusing on the development of the BFR.
— Yusaku Maezawa 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) September 18, 2018
During the conference in Hawthorne, Musk refused to divulge the amount Maezawa paid for the mission although he said that the Japanese billionaire would be “paying a very significant amount of money.”
“To be clear. This is dangerous … it’s not a sure thing … there are some chances things could go wrong,” Musk went on to say.
Maezawa will be traveling with a crew which will include a group of artists that he himself will invite.
“I choose to go to the moon with artists. In 2023, as the host, I would like to invite 6 to 8 artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon,” Maezawa said.