This Japanese billionaire to be first space tourist to fly around Moon

American space company SpaceX has announced the name of the first private space tourist to fly around the Moon. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is expected to board the company’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a launch system that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled in 2016.

“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 Tuesday.

The BFR is currently planned for 2023. The Moon is about 385,000 kilometres away from Earth, and the last time astronauts travelled there was in 1972 as part of NASA’s Apollo 17 mission.

Maezawa, 42, is the founder and CEO of Zozo, Japan’s largest online fashion retailer. He is also recognised as a contemporary art collector and curator.

“I choose to go to the Moon,” Maezawa announced on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Musk introduced Maezawa as the first passenger on the BFR at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday. But Maezawa said that he doesn’t want to go alone.

“I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself. That would be a little lonely,” Maezawa said, adding that he would invite a group of six to eight artists from around the world to join him on his trip around the moon.

“They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” Maezawa said.

The billionaire also announced a name for his new project, #dearMoon, and a website, dearMoon.earth.

According to Forbes, Maezawa has a fortune of $2.9 billion, and is currently the 18th richest man in Japan.

Last year, Maezawa paid $110.5 million (over Rs. 80 crore) for a painting by the late American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat at an auction in New York.

Take a look at the #dearMoon art project video below:


Featured image courtesy: @yousuck2020

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