Elon Musk names space tourist to launch on BFR moon mission

Elon Musk names space tourist to launch on BFR moon mission

Elon Musk names space tourist to launch on BFR moon mission

During a news conference at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, company founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced Maezawa as the first passenger on the new BFR (sometimes short for "Big Falcon Rocket") rocket-spaceship duo now under construction, and confirmed that Maezawa would ride in a loop around the moon.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk announces the first private passenger to fly round the moon in LA. Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep.

The mission, which is now planned for 2023, will mark the first visit to the Moon by humans since NASA's Apollo 17 landing in 1972.

"I wish to create wonderful works of art for humankind", Maezawa said.

"It's hard to say what Elon Musk can do".

SpaceX announced September 17 that a Japanese billionaire will be paying an undisclosed but significant sum to buy a flight of the company's next-generation rocket for a flight around the moon carrying a group of artists.

Maezawa said that he's bought all the seats on the BFR - cost unknown - so that he can take up to eight artists with him on the one-off mission. Modern art is one of his passions, too, and in 2016 he spent around $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso.

But so far this year, his space firm has also kept up a schedule outpaced only by the Chinese government, making 15 launches with its Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX has already contributed to space ventures by privately developing a liquid-fuel launch vehicle that orbited the Earth in 2008.

SpaceX didn't reveal how much Maezawa paid for his tickets to the moon, but CEO Elon Musk noted that his down-payment "will have a material effect on paying for the BFR".

By comparison, the Falcon Heavy is 70m tall and consists of a central rocket core surrounded by two boosters, each with a diameter of 3.66m. That's when the company announced it would send two paying customers on a trip around the Moon in 2018 aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket, which became the most powerful operational rocket in the world after its maiden voyage earlier this year.

Maezawa will fly on Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s BFR rocket on a trip around the moon, Musk announced today, without saying when.

However, Musk said that rocket would not be certified to carry people, which ruled out a round-the-moon trip on a Falcon Heavy.

Musk also tweeted his appreciation for NASA, NASA's history and National Security missions. The company's Space Dragon crew capsule, which is meant to take astronauts to the International Space Station, missed an initial target date of 2017 and won't see a manned test until 2019.

Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July.

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