SpaceX tourist revealed: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to fly around moon


Founded by billionaire Elon Musk and conceived as a company with long-term ambitions such as bringing humans to Mars, SpaceX will ferry four NASA astronauts to space in 2019 with its Crew Dragon or Dragon 2 spacecraft. Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese entrepreneur, purchased an entire BFR rocket with plans to ask a handful of artists to join him on his journey - artists who can then create works to inspire others to dream.

But the unveiling, in the shadow of the engines of two massive and gleaming rockets, was also a testament to Musk's belief in making humans a multi-planet species. The billionaire made news previous year when he spent $110 million on a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

In moves typical of his publicity-seeking style, Musk, who is also the billionaire chief executive of electric auto maker Tesla Inc, had previously teased a few tantalising details about the trip and the passenger's identity, but left major questions unanswered.

This could be humanity's first lunar visit since 1972, depending on how NASA's latest moon plans shape up.

SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-priced reusable Falcon 9 rockets. "I wish to create fantastic works of art for humankind, for children of the next generation", he said.

After that, the BFR will move on to larger scale tests - with Mr. Musk noting that the entire BFR system will be tested in an uncrewed configuration before Maezawa and his fellow passengers embark on their voyage around the moon.

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He accused Democrats of inflating the official death toll to "make me look as bad as possible". Mr Trump said people who died for any reason - "like old age" - had been added to the total.

"He's paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster", Musk told the crowd. He hasn't revealed who he's going to invite, but it'll be fascinating to see who he has in mind, and even more interesting to find out who does or doesn't take him up on the offer of a free trip to the moon.

About one year after that, in February of this year, SpaceX debuted the long-awaited Falcon Heavy, which became the world's most powerful operational launch vehicle.

Elon Musk will announce the name of the passenger and describe the lunar mission.

The BFR will be constructed at a SpaceX facility in Los Angeles and is being created to handle everything from missions to Earth orbit to long-term cargo and crew missions to Mars.

Musk didn't just share the BFR renders, though - he also answered a few questions about the craft on Twitter, identifying a part near the nose as the "forward moving wing" - a feature that Redditors picked up on after SpaceX tweeted its first BFR render Thursday night. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond. "You have to set some kind of date that's the things-go-right date". Musk has said he wants it to be able to carry a payload of 100 people into space, and/or the hardware to keep them alive once they get there. A 90-minute flight costs US$250,000.