ibusinesslines.com December 13, 2018

SpaceX is flying a Japanese billionaire to the moon in 2023

23 September 2018, 05:58 | Justin Tyler

SpaceX is flying a Japanese billionaire to the moon in 2023

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SpaceX, Elon Musk's ambitious rocket endeavor, said Monday it had signed a Japanese billionaire as its first paying private citizen to travel to the moon. He followed that up on Sunday with tweets showing new artist renderings of the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that Musk promises will shuttle the passenger to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, using the hashtag #OccupyMars.

Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket for a slingshot trip around the Moon, which is expected to take place in 2023. Apparently, both had already put down deposits on the flight, which would have lasted a week.

NASA's Apollo 8 mission took off on December 21, 1968, sending astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders on a flight to orbit the moon. Vice President Mike Pence has advocated a return to the moon, telling the National Space Council in October that it could serve as a steppingstone to Mars.

The new BFR moon mission presumably will replace the original Falcon Heavy flight touted by Musk past year. "That is why I could not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close, and at the same time, I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself".

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

"It's not 100 percent certain that we succeed in getting this to flight [by 2023]", Musk said.

SpaceX is on the verge of announcing the name of the person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon.

Musk dropped a huge hint about the identity of the traveller when fans asked him who would be taking part in the mission.

If it all goes to plan this will be the first manned mission to the moon since the Apollo 17 landing back in 1972.

We'll have to wait until SpaceX's big reveal on Monday to find out how much of the BFR design has really changed. Musk has previously expressed a desire to fly in space, though not on the earliest, riskiest missions. "When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing", Musk said. "There are chances something go wrong" and "you have to be a fearless person to do that". Mr Maezawa will not land, either. The rocket isn't yet ready for the human space flight yet and work is on.

But in February this year, Mr Musk said SpaceX would concentrate on the BFR for future crewed missions.

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