Tech

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

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

Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket, which is still being developed, for a slingshot trip around the Moon as soon as 2023. The Japanese billionaire said he plans to invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people to join him on board the SpaceX rocket "to inspire the dreamer in all of us".

Musk would not reveal the cost of the trip, but said the Japanese businessman outlaid a significant deposit and will have a material impact on the cost of developing the BFR.

NASA has also hired SpaceX and Boeing to develop commercial space trips from the US.

"He's a very courageous person to do this", Musk said of the Japanese entrepreneur.

Maezawa, 42, will be the first lunar traveller since the last US Apollo mission in 1972.

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and previous year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5mn. Start Today had shifted to focus more on fashion and apparel, eventually spawning an immensely popular e-commerce site called Zozotown, Forbes reported.

Like his sharing of art, Maezawa said on Monday that he also wants to share his experience of seeing the moon, explaining why he purchased every seat on the rocket for an undisclosed amount. The company's Space Dragon crew capsule, which is meant to take astronauts to the International Space Station, missed an initial target date of 2017 and won't see a manned test until 2019. "Please don't say no".

"If I'm going to go to space, I'd rather go as far as I can", he said. "That is why I choose to go to the moon with artists!"

More news: Woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct comes forward

He is a self-proclaimed art lover and made waves in the art world when in 2017 he bought a single Jean-Michel Basquiat painting at a Sotheby's auction for $110.5 million-a then-record for an American artist's work.

"I know that sounds insane, and we don't usually meet our time lines, but I wanted you to know at least order of magnitude, that's what we're thinking", Shotwell said.

But so far this year, his space firm has also kept up a schedule outpaced only by the Chinese government, making 15 launches with its Falcon 9 rocket.

Musk cautioned at the news conference that SpaceX is not certain about the 2023 timing for the moon tourism mission. The moon trip would last four to five days, he said.

Musk estimated it would cost $5bn to build.

That mission, the Apollo 17, included a crew made up of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt. The company then plans to fly the capsule with a two-person crew in the second quarter of 2019.

Branson's Virgin Galactic has sold tickets for about $250,000, which is more than the median home price in the United States. SpaceX, which is under contract by NASA to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station, recently announced it had to delay that first flight to April of next year.


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