SpaceX names Japanese CEO as passenger to Moon - News - NHK WORLD - English

SpaceX names Japanese CEO as passenger to Moon - News - NHK WORLD - English

SpaceX will send its first passenger around the moon in a Big Falcon Rocket (seen here in its original form). Intriguingly, he wants to take six-to-eight artists from different countries with him, with the plan to exhibit the works inspired by the journey at a later date.

Smiling widely, Maezawa said: "Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon".

Elon Musk's SpaceX has found their first big budget tourist to the moon and back in Yasaku Maezawa.

"Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon", he said. He will also be the first person to go to the moon since the US Apollo missions ended in 1972. 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.

The ex punk band drummer made his money in online fashion with his company Zozo and is the 18th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3bn, according to Forbes magazine.

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"One day when I was staring at his painting, I thought, 'What if Basquiat had gone to space and had seen the moon - what wonderful masterpiece would he have created?" But it looks like that lull may be coming to an end thanks to the efforts of SpaceX and its Big Falcon Rocket-the same rocket it hopes will one day carry people to Mars. The company now has the Falcon and Falcon Heavy rockets. The goal of the mission, which Maezawa calls #dearMoon, is to help spur the creation of great art that will inspire the whole of humanity, he said last night at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during a news conference with SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk.

The BFR was originally meant to take people from Earth to the red planet.

He added: "It's not 100% certain that we succeed in getting this to flight ..." The Moon-bound spacecraft will consist of two parts: a 191-foot rocket booster and a 157-foot spaceship. This lunar mission - a flyby, not a landing - represents "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space", SpaceX said in a tweet.

Musk later reversed course, saying the company no longer has plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight. The first portion of the system has already been built, Musk said.

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