Japanese billionaire will be first SpaceX private passenger
Tuesday, September 18, 2018, 2:43 PM - SpaceX, Elon Musk's space transportation company, on Monday (September 17) named its first private passenger on a voyage around the moon as Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo.
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A former drummer in a punk band, Maezawa's moon flight is tentatively planned for 2023 aboard SpaceX's forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.
The first person to travel to the moon since the United States' Apollo missions ended in 1972, Maezawa's identity was revealed at an event on Monday evening at the company's headquarters and rocket factory in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne.
Most famous outside Japan for his record-breaking $110 million purchase of an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Maezawa said he would invite six to eight artists to join him on the lunar orbit mission.
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.
Musk called Maezawa a "very brave person" to take the flight to the moon.