SpaceX's first private passenger is Japanese fashion magnate Maezawa

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

The system will eventually replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, as well as the Dragon spacecraft.

He'll be the first private passenger to visit the moon in the company's much hyped Big Falcon Rocket - if the launch happens.

Musk laid out his first design for the mammoth two-stage BFR in 2016 at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, and refined it for the 2017 IAC meeting in Australia.

Musk, who's also chairman and chief executive officer of electric-car maker Tesla Inc., is a master showman who's been adept at inspiring a massive audience of followers for his pursuit of electric cars and other clean-energy endeavors critical to combating global warming.

Japanese billionaire, entrepreneur and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42, announced: "I choose to go to the Moon".

Its plan to fly tourists around the moon has also been delayed.

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The announcement was made at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early a year ago to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

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.

Setbacks and delays, however, don't deter Musk or his relentless company, which has grown to 7,000 employees. In a news conference scheduled to start at 9pm ET, SpaceX will introduce its first paying private customer who will ride a spacecraft around the Moon just for the fun of it.

In February, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy for the first time.

Those comments add additional color to the updated narrative gradually trickling out of SpaceX as the company pushes towards a finalized "flight design" for the Mars-bound launch vehicle and spaceship, a critical step that must precede integrated design reviews and flight tests.

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon. To make it seem like it's something we can do in our lifetimes.

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