SpaceX’s Elon Musk provided an update to their BFR Rocket project, including unveiling the identity of a passenger who will fly the rocket around the Moon next year and a promotion to get others to join him. SpaceX says by signing the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon, they are making “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space.” Musk says the trip to and around the moon will take about 4-5 days. And prior to the commercial flight around the moon, Musk says they’ll attempt a few unmanned launches of the BFR prior to putting people on it.
Yusaku Maezawa will be the first person to travel around the moon onboard the SpaceX rocket. Founder of Japanese fashion label Zozo, Maezawa says he thought long and hard prior to committing to not only purchasing a seat on the flight, but the entire cabin of the BFR. “Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon….it continues to inspire humanity,” Maezawa said. To get others to share his inspiration and vision, he is inviting 6-8 artists to join him for the journey around the Moon. Possible passengers include film directors, painters, dancers, novelists, musicians, fashion designers, sculptors, photographers, or architects. More details will be made public in the coming days on Maezawa’s website http://dearmoon.earth and through his social media channels using the hashtag #dearMoon.
Maezawa, 42, is a Japanese billionaire entrepreneur and art collector. He founded Start Today in 1998 and launched the online fashion retail website Zozotown, now Japan’s largest, in 2004. Most recently, Maezawa introduced a custom-fit apparel brand ZOZO and at-home measurement system, the ZOZOSUIT, in 2018. Forbes estimated his net worth earlier this year to be $3.6billion, making him the 14th wealthiest person in Japan.
SpaceX has not announced how much Maezawa is paying for the trip. Maezawa did say he has paid a significant deposit towards this first flight.
The BFR, which is short for “Big Falcon Rocket” (or the “Big F—— Rocket”) , is still under development. It will consist of the most powerful rocket ever built and a spaceship capable of carrying roughly 100 passengers at a time to and from Mars. Musk says both the rocket and the passenger ship will be reusable. Beyond this commercial trip around the moon, the primary purpose of BFR is to enable settlement on Mars.
Musk said this will be a risky trip. “This is dangerous. This is no walk in the park. It’ll take a lot of training. There’s no guarantee. It’s not a sure thing. It’s not like taking an air trip anywhere. But something could go wrong. ”
The mission around the Moon is slated for 2023 but could change depending on how development with the BFR goes.
In February 2017, Musk had announced that two passengers bought a trip around the Moon on his Falcon Heavy rocket. While those passengers were never revealed before, Musk said today that it was Maezawa who had purchased the initial flight. During the launch of the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX had announced that a trip around the Moon on the Falcon Heavy would be scrubbed so resources could be spent getting the BFR to space.