Last evening, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk disclosed that Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese magnate and founder of Japan’s largest online clothing retailer, Zozotown will be the first ever private customer to fly around the Moon on the company’s fore coming massive rocket, the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR). Yusaku hopes to hop on the rocket as early as 2023. He also desires to take the artists with him to convert the entire trip into an art project that will be known as #dearMoon. As the announcement was made, a website went live for the mission.
Maezawa said to announce his trip at a SpaceX event, “Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon! I choose to go to the moon with artists!”.
Being an artist himself, Maezawa wants to invite other artists to join him on his trip. He allegedly has “booked all the seats” on the BFR.
“I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon,” he said. “These artists will be asked to create something after they return to Earth, and these masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.”
However, he hasn’t decided about which artists he would like to invite as he desires to represent different fields.
“What if Picasso had gone to the Moon? Or Andy Warhol or Michael Jackson or John Lennon?” he asked at the event. “What about Coco Chanel? These are all artists that I adore.”
Musk said that it was originally Maezawa’s idea to do this trip. Yusaku, however, declined to reveal the figures that he paid for the flight, but the trip will be free-of-cost for the artists that go with him. Musk, too, remained tight-lipped about the payment although he has noted that the down payment Yusaku made was substantial enough to cover up the development cost of BFR.
Musk said, “It makes a difference. He puts his money where his mouth is. He’s legit.” No specific type of training is decided for Maezawa yet.
“Nothing is written in stone,” Maezawa said through a translator. “We are going to start a discussion and decide here on forward.”
In spite of revealing the new passenger, SpaceX has yet to launch anyone to space. 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.
For the time being, Musk has decided to stick with the plan of launching the vehicle called Crew Dragon minus the passengers on board. The test flight will be conducted a month after the most recent dates announced by NASA. The company then plans to fly the capsule with a two-person crew in the second quarter of 2019. Musk continues to maintain Commercial Crew as a priority for SpaceX now.
In the meantime, Maezawa and Musk have promised to update the public with the latest updates about the Moon mission in the coming years. Musk too left open the possibility that he would join the artist crew. He said, “As far as me going, I’m not sure. Maybe I would join on this trip, I don’t know. “After receiving some encouragement from Maezawa, Musk said he will possibly consider it. Yeah, maybe we will both be on it.”