Fashion guru Maezawa books first SpaceX moon flight

What you need to know about the first tourist that SpaceX is taking around the moon

Japanese billionaire to be sent to moon by SpaceX says he'll bring along architects and other artists

A former drummer in a punk band, Mr Maezawa is tentatively planning to make his Moon flight in 2023 aboard SpaceX's forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialise space travel to new heights.

SpaceX revealed the first passenger its signed up to fly to the moon on Monday for one very expensive art project. He plans to take six or eight artists, architects and designers with him.

The BFR (which stands for "Big Falcon Rocket", or "Big F-- Rocket") is created to help humanity settle Mars and other worlds throughout the solar system, Musk has said. While looking at one of Basquiat's paintings, Maezawa said, he came upon the idea to inspire other top artists to bring a space view down to Earth. According to a statement from Elon Musk, it is the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa who would be flying with them in 2023.

Forbes estimates Maezawa is worth $2.9 billion, so he's got deep pockets to bankroll his art addiction and space ambitions.

The mission will not actually land on the moon, the BBC reported. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early past year to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

Speaking at SpaceX's headquarters outside of Los Angeles, he introduced Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire entrepreneur who founded the fashion label, Zozo.

What you need to know about the first tourist that SpaceX is taking around the moon

"Maybe we'll both be on it", Elon Musk said after Maezawa's invitation. That's when the company announced it would send two paying customers on a trip around the Moon in 2018 aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket, which became the most powerful operational rocket in the world after its maiden voyage earlier this year.

Maezawa is not shy when it comes to spending his riches, as evidenced when he made headlines for shelling out a record $110.5 million for Jean-Michel Basquiat's 1982 painting of a skull a year ago.

"If I'm going to go to space, I'd rather go as far as I can", he said.

Maezawa made his fortune by building up Start Today, an e-commerce business that includes a popular online clothing site in Japan. He is an avid art collector, and in 2016 he spent $80 million on paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso, two artists he cited as inspirations during Monday's event. SpaceX, which is under contract by NASA to fly its astronauts to the International Space Station, recently announced it had to delay that first flight to April of next year. Last month he told the New York Times he was overwhelmed by job stress.

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.

Musk and SpaceX engineers built a small submarine and shipped it to Thailand to help with the rescue.

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