Sunday, 21 October, 2018


First SpaceX passenger: 'I choose to go to the moon!'

SpaceX To Name Mystery Moon Traveler SpaceX to announce 1st private moon flight passenger
Kristine Garrett | 24 September, 2018, 16:25

A Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon, Yusaku Maezawa, will be the first man to fly on a monster SpaceX rocket around the Moon as early as 2023, and he plans to bring six to eight artists along.

He is the first to book a trip as a private passenger with the commercial space company for a voyage that hasn't been attempted since NASA's Apollo missions ended in 1972.

Though SpaceX and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have always been focused on Mars colonization, a moon mission could help "keep the momentum alive" and attract more private investment, said Marco Caceres, senior space analyst at Teal Group. Once the artists return to the Earth, they will compose a work inspired by their experience. "These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us".

SpaceX said its moon flight will launch via an as-yet-unbuilt rocket, named the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

The distance from Earth to the Moon is nearly 382,500 kilometers, and the last time people got there was in the Apollo mission in 1972.

The rocket itself is not yet built and Musk said that the mission was "not 100pc certain".

The rocket firm originally planned to send two private citizens on a space trip around Earth's closest neighbour, using the company's Big Falcon Rocket. "This is my lifelong dream", he explained.

Maezawa's journey to the Moon - scheduled to start in 2023 - is likely to last for about a week.

The 106 metre (347 feet) long ship was first announced a year ago, and Musk said the ship will contain up to 40 cabins which will have enough space for 100 people. The first test flights of the BFR rocket are slated for next year.

SpaceX is expected to name the first private passenger to fly around the moon at an event Monday evening. But, he said he's already made a substantial down payment on the flight, and that the cost will significantly offset the cost to SpaceX to make it happen. Today SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell was quoted as saying that the company had its "eyes on the prize" for an initial BFR flight to Mars in 2024, although she acknowledged that SpaceX's timelines often slip to the right.

Musk has been the subject of numerous controversies recently after he labelled one of the divers who led the Thailand cave rescue mission as a "pedo" in a since deleted Tweet. Now, it's anticipated that it can occur on the LA-built BFR, instead of a Falcon Heavy carrying a Dragon capsule. As things stand, there are no plans to authorise the Falcon Heavy to carry humans in space.

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