Japanese Billionaire ID'd as Planned SpaceX Moon Traveler

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A new website for the mission, which is called "Dear Moon", was launched in conjunction with the announcement. As such, reports Forbes, SpaceX has announced that he will be the first paying passenger on its BFR spacecraft destined for a trip around the moon.

It's not known whether SpaceX plans a lunar orbit mission or will instead launch the passenger on a flight to simply loop around the moon and return to Earth using a so-called "free return" trajectory.

A Japanese fashion magnate and art curator, Yusaku Maezawa, is going to become the first private passenger on a trip around the moon - and it's going to be incredible, because he will not be going alone.

SpaceX noted in its announcement last week that "only 24 humans have been to the moon in history. No one has visited since the last Apollo mission in 1972".

Musk estimates development costs for the BFR rocket will reach about $5 billion. New renderings released by SpaceX this month show a seven-engine rocket with a separate booster 30 feet (9 meters) in width.

He said then that two people who know each other approached the company about a week-long flight to the moon and back. That Christmas Eve, the crew famously read from the book of Genesis as they passed 60 miles above he lunar surface.

The mission in question is planned for 2023 and would be the first lunar journey undertaken by humans since 1972, when the final Apollo mission took place.

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Mr Maezawa will not land on the moon.

Alongside the announcement, Elon Musk also hinted that the private costumer could be Japanese, adding that the spaceship in the photos was of the BFR latest design.

"A lot of people are looking at the moon as a staging ground for these deeper space missions", said Bill Ostrove, aerospace and defense analyst at market research firm Forecast International. In June, the company announced that wouldn't happen. "And they're very serious about it".

At the time, SpaceX was to have used its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket and the crewed version of the existing Dragon capsule.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said at a conference outside Washington earlier Monday that she hoped the spaceship would be making short test flights next year.

Though SpaceX and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have always been focused on Mars colonization, a moon mission could help "keep the momentum alive" and attract more private investment, said Marco Caceres, senior space analyst at Teal Group. If all goes according to plan, he'll take a lunar voyage on the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, a launch system that SpaceX is developing to colonize Mars.

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