Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

SpaceX To Name Mystery Moon Traveler

SpaceX To Name Mystery Moon Traveler

A former drummer in a punk band, Maezawa's moon flight is tentatively planned for 2023 aboard SpaceX's forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights. SpaceX, which is under contract by NASA to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station, recently announced it had to delay that first flight to April of next year.

Maezawa is also known as an contemporary art collector and curator with a large collection at his Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo, which features works of various renowned painters like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

"Finally I can tell you that I choose to go to the moon", said Maezawa.

That's right, six to eight artists "that represent Earth", will be invited by Maezawa to join him on his mission to the moon. The mission isn't scheduled to launch until 2023. The only catch is that they create something to honor their time aboard the BFR and for the moon trip.

"I'm not sure if we will test a flight around the Moon or not, but we will probably try doing that before sending any people". But Maezawa's net worth is estimated at just shy of three billion by Forbes, and Musk said the fashion magnate's deposit for the trip was "significant", i.e. likely in the tens or even hundreds of millions.

It's not the same mission SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined a year ago. On Monday, Musk detailed the latest version of the concept, which he said will be able to carry 100 tons of payload.

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"Ever since I was a kid, I've loved the moon", Maezawa said.

He said the BFR is still in development and will make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers. The new design looks a bit like a streamlined, futuristic version of a NASA space shuttle. SpaceX plans to launch the first unmanned mission to Mars by 2022 - a goal Musk himself has described as "Ambitious", with a sight to putting the first humans on the red planet by 2024. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond. The spacecraft is meant to buzz around the moon without landing.

At a SpaceX event on Monday in Los Angeles, Musk did not clarify how much Maezawa would pay for the journey, according to TechCrunch. The vehicle is now under development at the Los Angeles Port.

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

That design is likely to continue undergoing major shifts well beyond the commencement of integrated Grasshopper-style hop tests of BFR's spaceship upper stage (known as BFS), as flight-testing the rocket's major components will nearly invariably result in design changes, be it major or minor.

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