Cheers At SpaceX: Japanese Billionaire Books First Moonshot

What you need to know about the first tourist that SpaceX is taking around the moon

SpaceX made the announcement from its headquarters in Hawthorne, California - not far from where the Emmy awards were being handed out in Los Angeles on Monday evening.

The 42-year-old Meazawa, billionaire founder of the largest Japanese online clothing retailer, Zozotown, won't actually land on the moon, but he'll fly around it. Being a keen arts-lover himself, the billionaire has "bought all the seats" on the spacecraft and is now giving opportunity to as much as eight artists to accompany him on the trip.

Each artist invited by Maezawa will be asked to create a work after they return based on their experience. He calls the project #dearmoon.

Maezawa said his team of artists will be recruited from around the world, adding, "If you should hear from me, please say yes and accept my invitation". He said then that two people who know each other approached the company about a weeklong flight to the moon and back.

Its plan to fly tourists around the moon has also been delayed. The BFR is said to become the main transport vehicle that will be used any future Mars colonization trips that SpaceX hopes to achieve.

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A former drummer in a punk band, Maezawa's moon flight is tentatively planned for 2023 aboard SpaceX's forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.

Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA's Apollo program.

It is not clear how much he has paid for the trip.

"I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself, that would be a little lonely", he said.

Musk said the pair had paid a "significant" deposit and were "entering this with their eyes open, knowing that there is some risk here". Twenty-four NASA astronauts flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, and only 12 of them strolled its dusty surface.

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"This has done a lot to restore my faith in humanity - that somebody's willing to do this", Musk said. In a landmark achievement in 2016, the company unveiled a launch system -Big Falcon Rocket (BFR)- which helps this lunar mission. "He stepped forward to do it", Musk said. He did suggest like maybe that I would join on this trip.

SpaceX put out the teaser via Twitter late Thursday, and Musk also tweeted out the news.

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 President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said last week that there was "no chance" that Musk's conduct will impact SpaceX's ability to win contracts, and that there's been "no impact at all" on the level of confidence in him on the part of the closely held company's backers. Blue Origin's price has not been revealed.

So just who is this eccentric billionaire risking his life to be SpaceX's first space tourist?

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