Japanese billionaire businessman is SpaceX's Moon tourist

Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX.                  Video screenshot by CNET

"It's always there and continues to inspire humanity".

However, there's a catch. "It would skim the surface of the moon, go quite a bit further out into deep space, and then loop back to Earth". "What wonderful masterpiece would he have created?" he mused.

"I think it is really healthy to see this iterative change happening, because I believe we can assume it is based on actual development and simulation going on", Greg Autry, the director of the Southern California Spaceflight Initiative, told Business Insider in an email before Musk's announcement. "I want to share this".

He said Maezawa, founder of Japan's largest retail website and one the country's richest people, came to SpaceX with the idea for the flight.

Maezawa referred to Earth's longtime love affair with the moon, Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", and Van Gogh "Starry Night", and other works of art that have been inspired by the moon, "our planet's constant partner".

According to Maezawa, he purchased all of the available seats on the Big Falcon Rocket and plans to take six to eight artists with him. "And what will they create?"

SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell gave a more generous time frame for BFR's debut during a TED Talk in April, saying it would launch "within a decade". On Monday, Musk detailed the latest version of the concept, which he said will be able to carry 100 tons of payload.

The as-of-yet-unnamed patron will be paying a huge price for the privilege of traveling around the Moon, and SpaceX has a huge job ahead of it to actually make the trip happen.

It's one of the most critical steps in getting space tourism to become a viable industry.

Musk has not revealed how much his "Lunar BFR Mission" will cost in the long run, but Maezawa surely won't have a hard time footing the bill.

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At this year's South by Southwest hypefest in Austin, Texas, his Muskiness predicted that the first BFR flight would take place in 2019, although these would at first be strictly up and down takeoffs and landings to test out the system, so the 2023 date is flexible. However, the SpaceX CEO assured the crowd there would be extensive testing prior to launching BFR with a person.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk will fill in other the details in making the announcement on Monday evening.

Musk says SpaceX has already built the first cylinder section of the BFR.

He also talked about the sobering possibilities that the best chance for survival of the human race might not be on Earth. He also mentioned that SpaceX spends less than five percent of its budget on the BFR, but it could increase. And here we are just trying to get through the week.

"How many people would've looked at SpaceX in 2008 and imagined that in 2018 we'd be where we are?"

Musk himself has had a rocky year.

"This is something that makes you glad to be a human being". Instead, the company shifted its future focus to the BFR.

It's not the same mission SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined past year.

"The first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) is fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa", SpaceX tweeted on Monday.

The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, an American businessman who in 2001 paid some $20million to fly on a Russian spaceship to the International Space Station. Musk hinted that the mystery person may be from Japan, tweeting a Japanese flag emoji.

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