Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Identified as SpaceX Moon Passenger

Esequiel Farfan
Setiembre 19, 2018

He added that going to the moon was his "lifelong dream". His net worth is $2.9 billion, according to Forbes.

The Japanese billionaire is also known as a contemporary art collector and curator with a large collection at his Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo, which features works of various renowned painters like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

He wants the artists he brings with him to create new works of art inspired by their trip to the moon when they return to Earth.

"I choose to go to the moon with artists". These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.

So just who is this eccentric billionaire risking his life to be SpaceX's first space tourist?

It's not the same mission SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined a year ago. "We are honored that he chose us".

With SpaceX, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, Maezawa will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels. "This is no walk in the park", Musk cautioned.

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"If I'm going to go to space, I'd rather go as far as I can", he said. He did suggest like maybe that I would join on this trip. "I don't know", Musk said. Next July will mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing by Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

That said, the tech tycoon, echoed by Musk, said he could board the BFR as early as 2023. The moon trip would last four to five days, he said.

"Lasting about a week, the journey will come as close as 125 miles to the Moon's surface before completing lunar transit and returning back to Earth", SpaceX said. "This will look really epic in person", Musk said.

Last year, Musk said the BFR's admittedly "ambitious" goal was to make a test flight to Mars in 2022, followed by a crewed flight to the Red Planet in 2024. The BFR spacecraft's shape is reminiscent of the space shuttle, the bus-like U.S. spaceships that carried astronauts to space 135 times from 1981 to 2011. A 90-minute flight costs $250,000.

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.

Russian and Chinese companies are also working on space tourism plans.

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