Monday, 17 December, 2018

Yusaku Maezawa booked all seats on SpaceX moon shot. Who is he?

Elon Musk and Yusaku Maezawa the self-made tycoon said he had always dreamt of going to the moon. He plans to take eight artists along for the ride Yusaku Maezawa booked all seats on SpaceX moon shot. Who is he?
Theresa Hayes | 21 September, 2018, 04:10

SpaceX said Monday night that it would send Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire entrepreneur and online fashion tycoon from Japan, on a trip around the moon in 2023 aboard the company's monster Big Falcon Rocket.

The announcement reboots a similar mission SpaceX planned in 2017 to fly two private citizens around the moon on the Falcon Heavy rocket and Crew Dragon capsule.

For an undisclosed sum, Maezawa chartered every ticket on the flight, which will take him and up to eight artists on a four- to five-day slingshot journey around the moon as soon as 2023 - the centerpiece to a project dubbed "Dear Moon".

The new strategy is to still fly around the moon, but using an even bigger SpaceX rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship. He wants his guests "to see the moon up close, and the Earth in full view, and create work to reflect their experience", he says.

The mission, which is now planned for 2023, will mark the first visit to the Moon by humans since NASA's Apollo 17 landing in 1972. After launch, the BFR will make several course corrections and complete one loop around the moon before returning to Earth, where it will land upright, in a maneuver SpaceX has pioneered with its Falcon 9 rockets. He drew attention previous year with the purchase of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting for $110.5 million.

According to Forbes, Maezawa is the 18th richest man in Japan with a fortune of $2.9 billion.

Musk's vision of an interplanetary future may be somewhere in between dreams and delusion, but at the very least he has helped inspire a new generation of enthusiasts, the way the Apollo era did in the 1960s.

Maezawa didn't immediately say who will be on his guest list for the spaceflight, but in response to a question from a reporter he said he'd consider inviting Musk. Of course, the goal of this would be that once the artists would come back from the Moon, they will be able to come up with great artwork.

"It's unsafe to be clear", Musk said.

"As far as me going, I'm not sure", Musk responded. Maybe I would join on this trip, I don't know.

Asked why the company made further changes, Musk said he "did not like the aesthetics" of the previous version.

Could there be more than one billionaire aboard SpaceX's upcoming lunar fly-around mission?

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

Musk showed off designs for the 118-metre long BFR, which will consist of a first stage with engines and fuel systems, and a second stage with the spacecraft where the passengers will ride. Blue Origin's price has not been revealed. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early a year ago to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".