Japanese man to be 1st private moon flight passenger

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

Again, Musk's SpaceX will announce the identity of the Big Falcon Rocket traveler tonight at 6 p.m. PT here.

Japanese billionaire, entrepreneur and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42, announced: "I choose to go to the Moon". "Ever since I was a kid I've loved the Moon, that is while I didn't pass up this opportunity to see the Moon up close". What do I want to do there?

"This is my lifelong dream", Maezawa said in a speech on Monday, announcing that he would be inviting artists to join him on his 2023 trip. 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.

The aerospace company, which is based in Hawthorne, did not say when the flight might occur or how much was paid for the ticket. Musk did not name the clients a year ago or say how much they would pay.

Musk showed off designs of the 129 yard-long BFR, which will consist of a first stage with engines and fuel systems, and a second stage with the spacecraft where the passengers will ride.

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. However, he has not decided on which artists he will reach out to and include on the inaugural flight.

In announcing the moon flight Mr Musk has stolen a march on his rivals for "space tourist" dollars.

Notable is the fact that Maezawa wishes to take people whose professions have - to date - prevented them from accessing space.

Shotwell estimated that the BFR will launch within a decade.

The last time astronauts orbited-not landed-on the moon was during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970.

And the new BFR spaceship will feature three rear "actuated fins" that also serve as landing pads, as well as two fins near its nose.

"It's not 100 percent certain that we succeed in getting this to flight", he said of BFR. His name is Yusaku Maezawa.

That Falcon Heavy/Crew Dragon flight was originally slated to occur in the later half of 2018.

SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world. Now, he's also the first private citizen to go into deep space.

Musk said on Twitter SpaceX's contracts with NASA remain a top priority, including the commercial crew program to shuttle NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

Musk's ultimate goal is to colonize Mars.

At the event this evening, Mr. Musk talked about BFR not just from that multiplanetary perspective, but about the hope it could bring. Instead, the company shifted its future focus to the BFR.

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