Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

SpaceX to announce tourist who will fly to moon

SpaceX to announce tourist who will fly to moon

Musk first became embroiled in a heated spat with Englishman Vernon Unsworth after he criticised Musk for trying to involve himself in the rescue mission in which 12 boys and their football coach were freed after weeks of being trapped in a Thai cave.

Here's what to know about Yusaku Maezawa.

"I can tell you that I choose to go to the moon", Maezawa said, apologizing for his English.

SpaceX calls the rocket the BFR, which officially stand for Big Falcon Rocket, though the F in the name is more commonly thought to stand for something else.

"I choose to go to the moon!" said the 42-year-old Maezawa, who founded Japan's largest online fashion mall and is worth nearly $3 billion.

An enthusiastic art collector, he is known for dramatic splurges.

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and past year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5 million.

Back to the space trip - and this is where it gets interesting.

An art lover with a vision, the Japanese entrepreneur has chose to not just buy a seat on the rocket, but every seat available-in fact he's already made a down payment that will help with BFR development costs. He bought an entire spaceship, and he intends to people it with 6-8 artists from different countries and representing different styles of art.

"I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us".

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"He did suggest, like, maybe that I would join on this trip", Musk said with a laugh, referring to Maezawa. Maezawa also attended the maiden launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. BFR, in contrast, will have room for many more people.

The rocket firm originally planned to send two private citizens on a space trip around Earth's closest neighbour, using the company's Big Falcon Rocket.

The 42-year-old billionaire is the founder of Zozotown and is believed to have a net worth of £2.8 billion.

Maezawa then said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah - please, please".

Musk dropped a huge hint about the identity of the traveller when fans asked him who would be taking part in the mission. "When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing", Musk said. "Maybe we'll both be on it".

He said he often mused about what artists like Basquiat or Andy Warhol might have come up with if they had travelled into space.

The mission, which will happen in 2023, at the earliest, will last for around six days.

Eventually, the BFR should be able to lift a whopping 150 tonnes into low-Earth orbit - that is more than the US Saturn V rockets that lofted the Apollo spacecraft.

I can paint. Where do I sign up?

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