Elon Musk names Japanese billionaire for around-the-moon space trip

Elon Musk names Japanese billionaire for around-the-moon space trip

Although its Falcon Heavy rocket was set to fly in 2013, the first, and only flight, of the heavy lifter happened some five years later, and lobbed Musk's Tesla Roadster into space to puzzle future extraterrestrial visitors.

Musk tweeted that "Yusaku will be bringing eight (brave) artists and cultural figures with him on the journey around the moon".

The goal of the mission, which Maezawa calls #dearMoon, is to help spur the creation of great art that will inspire the whole of humanity, he said last night at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during a news conference with SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted a picture of a Japanese flag.

He said the top priority is getting ready to be able to send astronauts to the space station.

SpaceX plans a lunar orbit mission.

Maezawa declined to say how much he will pay for the trip, but said he has already made a downpayment - an amount Musk said will make a "material impact" on the BFR program.

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"These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth", he said. Musk said, however, that the down payment alone was "significant". The company has grown from its origins as a mail-order music album business, and now makes most of its money through its shopping website Zozotown, which is popular with younger domestic consumers. His company Zozo, officially called Start Today Co Ltd, also offers a made-to-measure service using a polka dot bodysuit, the Zozosuit.

Both Falcons are now still in development, so hopefully this will not be a rerun of SpaceX's 2017 plan to take private citizens into space.

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber. "It's not a hundred percent certain that we succeed in getting this to flight".

With these announcements, SpaceX also presented - visually - an updated variant of the ship that will carry the group to space.

Like SpaceX's existing rockets, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, the first stage can detach from the rest of the rocket and return to Earth for an upright landing. The company has completed more than 50 successful Falcon launches and snagged billions of dollars' worth of contracts, including deals with Nasa and the US Department of Defence. "If things go well, we could be doing the first orbital flights in about two to three years", he said, with "many" such test flights planned with crews before humans fly on the vehicle.

Elon Musk has finally revealed the person who is paying SpaceX untold millions to have the rocket company launch a private mission around the moon.

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