SpaceX announces BFR lunar passenger, mission for Earth's artists

Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX.                  Video screenshot by CNET

Maezawa, who founded online retailers Start Today and Zozotown and is one of Japan's richest citizens, purchased all passenger seats on the flight.

Maezawa's moon flight is tentatively planned for 2023 aboard SpaceX's forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, according to Reuters.

He wants to do a circuit of the Moon, and take six to eight artists with him - be they painters, sculptors, musicians, or architects - and in return for the trip they must create art to inspire humanity.

"I thought long and hard about how valuable it would be to become the first private passenger to go to the moon", Maezawa said.

Whatever the details, SpaceX is touting an experience considerably more ambitious than space tourism plans under development by other private companies. In a webcast in the past hour, SpaceX supremo Elon Musk revealed that the passenger is none other than Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and the flight will hopefully take place by 2023 at the latest.

SpaceX livestreamed the big news after teasing the announcement last week and calling it "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

In typical fashion for any company owned by Elon Musk, they've chose to do so by blasting a single person - the world's first private passenger, around the moon and back to test the rocket's capability for far space travel.

Maezawa wouldn't reveal the cost for the tickets, but said he has already put down a deposit that Musk then described as "a non-trivial amount".

Liverpool's Firmino better but still doubt for PSG clash
Klopp, asked whether Firmino would be available, said: "He couldn't play today, no chance, but we are hoping tomorrow". But it's a normal reaction because players are going for him, that's the truth, and he wants to protect himself.

SpaceX has had a string of successful rocket launches, but that has been overshadowed by the struggles of Musk's Tesla electric vehicle company to deliver and his behavior.

The mission will not involve a lunar landing.

The last time astronauts orbited-not landed-on the moon was during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.

Maezawa's trip to the moon will be made on board a BFR, which is now still in development. The BFR ship won't be making a stopover on the lunar surface, though.

The British diver, Vernon Unsworth, sued Musk for defamation on Monday and is seeking more than $75,000.

The system will eventually replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the Dragon spacecraft. Compared to the space shuttle, modern spacecraft are highly automated, but a test pilot or two could also fly on the mission around the moon.

Besides the changed fins, with improve the aerodynamic control of the vehicle when entering an atmosphere, the updated spaceship now has seven Raptor engines identical to the ones on the booster stage.

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