According an announcement by SpaceX, Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa will be the first space tourist to travel around the moon
The Japanese billionaire and founder of clothing company ZoZo will be the first man to land on moon as a tourist and he plans to take a fleet of six to eight artists with him. The trip is planned for a launch in 2023 in the newly designed Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). According to NASA, the Japanese billionaire and entrepreneur would join the rarified company of 24 people who have ever visited the moon. The last journey of humankind to the moon was in in 1972 when astronauts Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, and Ronald Evans landed on the lunar surface in Apollo 17 spacecraft.
The announcement of this trip comes as an initial step of SpaceX’ several missions with BFR in the near future. “To help advance rocket technology to a point where we could potentially become a multi-planet species and a true spacefaring civilization,” Elon Musk said during a press briefing on September 17. SpaceX had first announced about sending tourists to the moon in February 2017 and had projected a 2018 launch date. The mission that would use Falcon Heavy rocket and Dragon capsule never happened and the tourists slated to take that trip were never publically named.
According to Forbes, Maezawa founded Japan’s largest online shopping mall, Zozotown and the 42-year-old was ranked 18 on its Japan’s 50 Richest 2018. Although SpaceX did not reveal the amount Maezawa paid, the trip is considered expensive. According to a report by MNN in June, private company Axiom Space founded by Michael Suffredini, announced that starting in 2020, it would be offering 10-day trips to the International Space Station (ISS) for $55 million per person. The ISS orbits 254 miles above Earth. The moon’s orbit is around 238,855 miles away. The BFR is expected to take around three days to reach the moon before orbiting its far side and returning back toward Earth. The article was published in Live Science on September 17, 2018.