Japanese Billionaire Books First Moonshot Aboard SpaceX's 'Big Falcon Rocket'

Ignacio Smith
September 18, 2018

Maezawa is the founder of the Japanese online retailer Zozotown, and he's a dedicated art collector; in 2016, he purchased $98 million worth of art in two NY auctions, according to a BBC report. "These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us".

In typical fashion for any company owned by Elon Musk, they've chose to do so by blasting a single person - the world's first private passenger, around the moon and back to test the rocket's capability for far space travel.

Until now, Americans are the only ones who have left Earth's orbit. "Only 24 humans have been to the Moon in history".

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Now the Elon Musk show returned to the sprawling SpaceX headquarters outside Los Angeles, where the company will - whether intentionally or not - provide a prime-time diversion to the troubles surrounding its celebrity chief executive by providing details about its long-anticipated moon shot. The company has said it wants to launch its Mars-bound cargo flight in 2022, followed by the first Mars flight with passengers in 2024. Not only does the company plan to use the craft to send people to Mars, it could also serve as a high-speed transportation system here on Earth, shuttling passengers between any two points on the planet in under an hour.

Musk also clarified that Maezawa was one of two passengers originally slated to fly into space on board the Falcon Heavy, a project cancelled in June as upgrades to SpaceX's line of smaller Falcon 9 rockets increasingly made their heftier counterpart less economically viable. After launch, the BFR will make several course corrections and complete one loop around the moon before returning to Earth, where it will land upright, in a manoeuvre SpaceX has pioneered with its Falcon 9 rockets. The company said the passengers paid a "significant deposit" for the trip but did not identify them.

Musk outlined a somewhat different SpaceX lunar mission previous year.

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At the time, SpaceX was to have used its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket and the crewed version of the existing Dragon spacecraft.

The BFR spacecraft's shape is reminiscent of the space shuttle, the bus-like U.S. spaceships that carried astronauts to space 135 times from 1981 to 2011. With SpaceX, he's described his mission as nothing short of making humans a multi-planetary species. Nevertheless, SpaceX is pressing on, and apparently feels confident enough in its work that it is comfortable parading its first paying private space "tourist" in front of the world. A 90-minute flight costs US$250,000.

SpaceX isn't the only company looking to turn space tourism into a booming business. "And late Sunday, Musk further fueled the anticipation by tweeting out artist renderings of the massive launch vehicle that SpaceX is developing to fly into deep space, with a simple message: "#OccupyMars".

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