SpaceX Will Take a Japanese Billionaire on a Trip Around the Moon

SpaceX revealed Monday that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be its first space tourist.

Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company’s Big Falcon Rocket for a slingshot trip around the Moon, which is expected to take place in 2023.

He said during a press conference that he planned to take six to eight artists with him on the mission.

“I want to share this experience and things with as many people as possible,” Maezawa said. “So, I choose to go to the moon with artists.”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the trip will take four or five days.

The company made its announcement from its headquarters in Hawthorne, California — not far from where the Emmy awards were being handed out at Los Angeles’s Microsoft Theater Monday evening.

The customer will fly on the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, a new spaceship system that SpaceX is building. It consists of a massive rocket booster that promises to out-power any that has ever been built and a towering spacecraft, nicknamed BFS for Big Falcon Spaceship, that will vault out of the Earth’s atmosphere.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said at a conference outside Washington earlier Monday that she hoped the spaceship would be making short test flights next year.

Shotwell also said the full rocket could reach orbit for the first time in 2020 and possibly deliver cargo to the Moon or Mars in 2022.

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