The first civilian to travel to the moon on the SpaceX rocket will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, 42.
Elon Musk announced on Monday (local time) at the headquarters of SpaceX in California that Maezawa will go on a week-long space travel aboard SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) in 2023, according to a report by AP.
Maezawa is the founder of Japan's largest online fashion mall, Zozotown. He is the 18th richest person in Japan with a net worth of $3 billion (approx. 3.37 trillion won). Musk did not disclose the amount Maezawa paid for the trip but said he paid a “significant price.”
Introduced by Elon Musk, Maezawa took to the stage and said he does not like being alone so he would like to invite six to eight artists, such as architect and designer. The Japanese entrepreneur said he has enjoyed imagining what pieces would artists such as Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat draw after going on a space trip. Maezawa added that he wants the artists to reflect their experience of watching the moon up close and looking down at the earth from the space to their works and said his heart pounds just by thinking of it.
Musk also disclosed the image of the BFR, which stands 118 meters high. He plans to launch an unmanned rocket for multiple times before actually carrying passengers on it.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing by Neil Armstrong. The last person to land on the moon is Eugene Cernan, captain of the Apollo 17 in 1972. If this project by SpaceX succeeds, mankind will once again reach to the moon in 51 years. A total of 12 people, who were all astronauts of NASA, have actually stepped on the surface of the moon so far.