Japanese billionaire to be first Moon tourist
September 18, 2018 - Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has named its first private passenger on a voyage around the Moon as Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
Musk says Maezawa will fly to the Moon aboard a new rocket called the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which is still in development.
The reusable 118-meter BFR will be a two-stage vehicle composed of the most powerful rocket booster ever built and a spaceship designed to carry up to 100 people
The mission is planned for 2023, and would be the first lunar journey by humans since 1972. The average distance from Earth to the moon is 384,40km.
Maezawa, an art enthusiast, said that he would invite six to eight artists from around the world to join him on the trip.
"They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us," he told reporters.
Maezawa will not land on the moon. He will travel on what is called a "free return trajectory", which will bring his BFR ship back to Earth after it has gone around the far side of the satellite.
On Monday, Musk unveiled new artist impressions of the BFR and the spaceship which will carry passengers around the Moon.
It appeared to confirm some design changes to the spaceship, including three large fins near the back and a black heat-shield on the craft's underside.
Eventually, the BFR should be able to lift 150 tonnes into low-Earth orbit – that is more than the Saturn V rockets that lofted the Apollo spacecraft.
Graphic News Standards