SpaceX moon passenger to invite artists on journey

Elon Musk chief executive officer for Space Exploration Technologies Corp

Japanese retail figurehead and art collector Yusaku Maezawa today (18 September) announced his intention to fly around the moon on the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

Between six and eight artists will join the expedition called Dear Moon, which is now planned for 2023. Watch the full announcement in the video player below.

Smiling widely, Maezawa said: "Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon".

During the SpaceX reveal event, Maezawa explained that his desire is to bring a bunch of artists with him on his trip around the Moon. The goal of the mission, which Maezawa calls #dearMoon, is to help spur the creation of great art that will inspire the whole of humanity, he said last night at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during a news conference with SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk.

The mission is slated to use the company's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which is a spacecraft that has not been fully realized yet.

The Falcon Heavy's maiden flight eventually slipped to February of this year and the Dragon crew capsule, currently under development to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, is now scheduled for its first unpiloted test flight date this year.

SpaceX announced it had reached an agreement to launch the tourist into space last Friday via Twitter. "This is no walk in the park", Musk cautioned.

Experts believe that rocket is several years away from launching.

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SpaceX said previous year that it planned to send two private citizens around the moon in a Dragon crew capsule to be launched by a Falcon Heavy rocket.

The company is still developing the BFR rocket, which will be the successor to SpaceX's oft-used Falcon 9 rocket and its upgraded version, the Falcon Heavy.

SpaceX/YouTube Musk released the proposed trajectory of the first lunar SpaceX flight with a paying customer, which could take place as early as 2023.

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.

He says it's been his lifelong dream to go into space.

Mr Musk has said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024.

Virgin Galactic, founded by British tycoon Richard Branson, and billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's rocket company Blue Origin, are working on trips to the edge of space that could offer tourists a chance at weightlessness for 10 minutes or so.

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