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SpaceX says Japanese billionaire will be first passenger on moon flight

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SpaceX says Japanese billionaire will be first passenger on moon flight

Image: SpaceX's BFR launch vehicle
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In a live event held at SpaceX headquarters in California, Elon Musk said tonight that the billionaire founder of Japanese fashion retailer Zozo would be the first private passenger to fly around the moon on a mission the company has planned for 2023.

Yusaku Maezawa, CEO of Zozo, said after being introduced by the SpaceX CEO that he planned to invite six to eight artists to join him on the mission.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa speaks after SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk announced him as the person scheduled to be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, in Hawthorne, Calif Monday night.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa speaks after SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk announced him as the person scheduled to be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, in Hawthorne, Calif Monday night.Chris Carlson

The voyage will take place using the company's bullet-shaped Big Falcon Spaceship, or BFS. The ship will launch from Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, atop a huge white booster named the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR. Both vehicles are still under development.

The announcement reboots a similar plan SpaceX announced in 2017 to fly two private passengers around the moon using the company's Falcon Heavy rocket and Crew Dragon capsule. The company canceled that flight after deciding not to spend resources certifying Falcon Heavy safe for human flights.

Maezawa, who is well known as an art collector, is calling the flight the "Dear Moon project." He has yet to select the artists he will invite for the trip.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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