SpaceX signs up Japanese billionaire for circumlunar BFR flight

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If all goes according to plan, Maezawa and his artist crew may become the first people to fly SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket - a new launch system that's being created to colonize Mars - and also the first-ever private lunar tourist in history.

The moon hasn't seen any human visitors since 1972 and NASA's last Apollo mission. "This will look really epic in person", Musk said.

SpaceX did not reveal how much Maezawa paid for the moon flight, but said he already made a down payment.

"I love art, so I want to see what artists will collaborate on together and see it directly with my eyes", Maezawa said.

"I choose to go to the moon with artists".

Maezawa will invite six to eight artists of different professional and personal backgrounds - artists who represent the whole of humanity - to join him on the lunar flyby mission... with the only stipulation to their involvement being that they create works thereafter that "inspire the dreamer in all of us". He's yet to choose the artists who will accompany him.

The identity of the traveler will be released at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during an event held early on Tuesday morning at 2am United Kingdom time. "Please say yes and accept my invitation! That will change significantly in years to come", he said.

After an uncrewed demonstration flight this fall and an in-flight abort test, U.S. Air Force Colonel Bob Behnken and former Marine Corps test pilot Doug Hurley will be the first two astronauts to fly in SpaceX's Crew Dragon. Musk estimated the BFR development will cost around $5 billion.

But given that SpaceX nearly always meets ot exceeds its plans - even if their target date is off - the intent is clearly focused on making this mission happen.

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But it is reliant on a rocket that has not been built yet, and Mr Musk cautioned: "It's not 100% certain we can bring this to flight". "Together with Earth's top artists, I will be heading to the Moon... just a little earlier than everyone else", Maezawa wrote on his website for the project, #dearMoon.

Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket, which is still being developed, for a slingshot trip around the Moon as soon as 2023.

As the event ended Someone ask Musk if he will go into space.

Maezawa made his fortune by building up Start Today, an e-commerce business that includes a popular online clothing site in Japan. "As far as me going, I'm not sure", Musk said.

The Japanese billionaire is most famous outside Japan for his record-breaking $110 million purchase of an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting.

SpaceX said the journey would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space".

But it looks like that lull may be coming to an end thanks to the efforts of SpaceX and its Big Falcon Rocket-the same rocket it hopes will one day carry people to Mars.

SpaceX has not talked much about putting private citizens in space since February 2017.

The BFR is SpaceX's next generation spacecraft and launch vehicle system, set to be used along with the company's current suite of hardware like the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.

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