Japanese businessman to become first private moon tourist

Ignacio Smith
September 20, 2018

Earlier this year, on February 6, the Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, launching a red Tesla Roadster driven by a Starman mannequin.

The identity of the traveler will be released at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during an event held early on Tuesday morning at 2am United Kingdom time.

Musk said on Twitter SpaceX's contracts with NASA remain a top priority, including the commercial crew program to shuttle NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Maezawa hasn't selected which artists will join him on the four to five-day journey, which will send his craft around the Moon and back to Earth.

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It's a big boost for SpaceX and its CEO, Elon Musk. The mission is planned for 2023, and, if all goes according to plan, will be the first journey to the moon by humans since 1972. Well, what sounds like science fiction might soon be a reality, as Elon Musk announced the company's first passenger for the Moon trip.

SpaceX said it has signed the first private moon traveler, with some changes to its original game plan.

At the time, Musk said the pair approached SpaceX about sending them on a weeklong flight and paid a "significant" deposit for the trip. Maezawa, an avid art collector, plans to bring six to eight artists with him.

"It's always been there, it's always been inside of me", Maezawa said, before transitioning to Japanese to say the moon has always "felt like it's protecting me". The reusable 387ft rocket will have its own dedicated passenger ship.The mission will not involve a lunar landing. Aerospace experts who follow Musk and SpaceX's activities suggest there could be more iterations before the company's first lunar voyage lifts off the launch pad. The company has previously created rockets that can be landed and reused, and it is working on its Dragon capsule to eventually carry astronauts to the ISS. The mission is slated to take flight in 2023.

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


"This has done a lot to restore my faith in humanity - that somebody's willing to do this", Musk said.

SpaceX added that it was "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space".

SpaceX has had a string of successful rocket launches, but that has been overshadowed by the struggles of Musk's Tesla electric vehicle company to deliver and his behavior.

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