Japan fashion guru Maezawa lands first SpaceX moon flight

Japan fashion guru Maezawa lands first SpaceX moon flight

Yusaku Maezawa also revealed that he plans on inviting a few artists to come with him. In an interview to Forbes past year, a passionate Maezawa said, "I'd like to emphasize in the construction (of the museum) that each work of art plays a leading role in the museum".

SpaceX just revealed that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be its first space tourist for a trip to the moon as early as 2023, and Maezawa is planning to select a group of artists, including a photographer, for a free 5-day lunar trip with him. Musk said he's "definitely not sure" about that launch date, because it assumes that everything will go absolutely right in the development of the BFR ("Big Falcon Rocket").

He paid an unspecified amount of money for the privilege, though Musk said it was "a lot of money".

Maezawa and company are scheduled to leave for the moon in 2023. In his announcement as the first SpaceX passenger, Maezawa told the crowd that he didn't want to experience something so awe-inspiring alone. He paid $110.5 million for Basquiat's 1982 painting of a graffiti-like black and blue rendition of a human skull, a record price for an American artist, at a Sotheby's auction previous year. Maezawa says he has often wondered what Basquiat might have drawn if he had travelled into space.

"Maybe we'll both be on it", Musk said with a smile.

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The chief executive of electric carmaker Tesla has previously said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.

Their ventures plan to conduct short suborbital trips during which passengers can briefly experience weightlessness and an expansive view of Earth. Astronauts last visited Earth's only natural satellite during NASA's Apollo program. Twenty-four men flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, and half of them made it to the lunar surface. The U.S. space agency aims to build a manned space station near the moon during the 2020s.

In 2004 he launched fashion e-retailer Zozotown, which is now Japan's largest online shopping mall. He made headlines in 2016 when he paid more than $57 million at auction for an untitled work by Basquiat.

Maezawa is paying an undisclosed but reportedly substantial amount for the journey on SpaceX's yet-to-be-built BFR spaceship, and there are scads of details to be worked out before the launch date, which is now set for 2023. He said then that two people who know each other approached the company about a weeklong flight to the moon and back.

Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around $200,000 to $300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July.

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