SpaceX to Send Japanese Billionaire to The Moon in 2023

Elon Musk and Yusaku Maezawa

Maezawa, 42, will take his trip round the moon in SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) spaceship and will be the first man to travel to Earth's only natural satellite since the U.S. ended its Apollo missions in 1972. "Usually there are many setbacks and issues", Musk said.

A new website for the mission, which is called "Dear Moon", was launched in conjunction with the announcement.

It hasn't been revealed how much Maezawa has paid for the trip, although it is clear that the billionaire approached SpaceX with the idea first.

According to Wired, SpaceX signed a lease in April close to its existing headquarters, where it will build the BFR. "When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing", Musk said.

But Musk said, "This is the final iteration in terms of broad architectural design".

When the reporters asked Musk if he considered being a co-passenger, he did not rule out the possibility.

SpaceX has launched more than 60 missions to deliver cargo or satellites into orbit over the past eight years - all of them without humans on board. The Moon-bound spacecraft will consist of two parts: a 191-foot rocket booster and a 157-foot spaceship. Since then, NASA has relied on Russian Federation to ferry astronauts to the space station. Nevertheless, SpaceX is pressing on, and apparently feels confident enough in its work that it is comfortable parading its first paying private space "tourist" in front of the world.

Currently, there is no good way for the average Joe or Jane to get to space.

SpaceX has been talking plans to send tourists around the Moon since early 2017.

SpaceX added that it was "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space".

At the time, SpaceX was to have used its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket and the crewed version of the existing Dragon capsule.

It's not known whether SpaceX plans a lunar orbit mission or will instead launch the passenger on a flight to simply loop around the moon and return to Earth using a so-called "free return" trajectory.

Their ventures plan to conduct short suborbital trips during which passengers can briefly experience weightlessness and an expansive view of Earth.

Maezawa, a former musician, founded the retail firm Start Today in 1998 and built it into one of Japan's most successful companies. To the outside world, however, the program's penultimate flight was the Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969. Blue Origin denied the report to CNN, saying ticket prices had not yet been set.

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