SpaceX's 1st traveler is moonstruck Japanese fashion tycoon


Elon Musk has revealed Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the potential first passenger to be launched to the moon by Musk's private aerospace company, SpaceX.

The mission will use SpaceX's BFR spacecraft - short for Big Falcon Rocket - essentially a massive booster rocket with a detachable spaceship attached. "I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon", Maezawa said.

The BFR (which stands for "Big Falcon Rocket", or "Big F-- Rocket") is created to help humanity settle Mars and other worlds throughout the solar system, Musk has said. The Japanese entrepreneur has purchased all the seats on SpaceX's first manned flight around the moon, though no date for the trip has been set. A Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, says he'll go.

A skateboarder and former drummer in a hardcore band called Switch Style, Maezawa is now the 18th richest person in Japan with a net worth of $2.9 billion according to Forbes.

Maezawa didn't immediately say who will be on his guest list for the spaceflight, but in response to a question from a reporter he said he'd consider inviting Musk.

The moon mission won't be as risky as a trip to the Red Planet, but there will still be considerable risk involved. Twenty-four NASA astronauts flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, and only 12 of them strolled its dusty surface.

Musk outlined a somewhat different SpaceX lunar mission past year. On his website, he has a collaged image of an astronaut with a paint brush, palette and easel painting a lunar landscape on the moon.

Musk said, "It makes a difference". The announcement about world's first moon tourist was made SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday.

Musk has put NASA and the Air Force - which collaborates with the space agency in myriad ways - in the awkward position of having to respond to controversial conduct recently.

A year later, he paid more than $110 million auction for another piece by the same artist.

Maezawa made his fortune by building up Start Today, an e-commerce business that includes a popular online clothing site in Japan. "Maybe we'll both be on it". He is an avid art collector, and in 2016 he spent $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso, two artists he cited as inspirations during Monday's event. He said then that two people who know each other approached the company about a weeklong flight to the moon and back. He hasn't said who they might be or how much he is paying for the trip. Nevertheless, the company is working on it. SpaceX has been revising its Dragon cargo capsule to carry crew to and from the International Space Station with the help of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. And last month he tweeted that his new jet's interior is being fashioned by luxury label Hermes.