SpaceX reveals Yusaku Maezawa will fly 'around the Moon' in historic announcement

Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX.                  Video screenshot by CNET

Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX. Video screenshot by CNET

In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company now valued at over $20 billion.

Japanese billionaire businessman, Yusaku Maezawa, will head to the moon in 2023, taking the race to commercialise space travel to new heights.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses the latest version of his vision for the BFR rocket.

Our correspondent, Mary MacCarthy, joins us from Los Angeles. "I want to share this experience and these things with the artists".

The billionaire tweeted out an emoji of the Japanese flag, sparking speculation that a billionaire from Japan was planning to make the flight.

"The first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) is fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa", SpaceX tweeted on Monday.

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The diminutive Maezawa, who as a young man struggled to find clothes that fit, hopes to revolutionize the fashion industry through his Zozosuit, which once donned allows users to upload their body measurements and order a growing number of made-to-measure items. Maezawa will spend about a week on the journey, according to SpaceX, which says the trip will come within up to 125 miles of the Moon's surface before turning around and returning to Earth.

SpaceX is on the verge of announcing the name of the person who will be the first private passenger to take a tourist trip around the moon. Maezawa explained his intent to bring along five to eight artists on the trip, the paper added, as part of a project to create art in space named Dear Moon.

Musk didn't say how much money was involved in booking the artists' adventure, although he said that it was substantial.

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber.

Whether or not SpaceX will fly an uncrewed BFR on a lunar free return trajectory mission - flying the exact profile it will with Maezawa and his passengers - before Maezawa's mission has not yet been determined.

SpaceX/TwitterSpaceX's rendering of a Big Falcon Rocket spaceship carrying a passenger around the moon.

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About one year after that, in February of this year, SpaceX debuted the long-awaited Falcon Heavy, which became the world's most powerful operational launch vehicle.

Musk said the two wannabe spacefarers had paid a deposit for their now-abandoned 2018 Moon trip.

SpaceX released this dramatic illustration of its BFR spacecraft with the moon.

"This would be a long loop around the moon", stated Mr. Musk in regard to the private citizen flight of BFR.

But Musk threw a curve ball during a Falcon Heavy press conference earlier this year when he told reporters that, for the time being, SpaceX had no plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.

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