Science

SpaceX will send Japanese billionaire and guests to the Moon

SpaceX will send Japanese billionaire and guests to the Moon”

This SpaceX graphic depicts the company's plan for the first private flight around the moon using its Big Falcon Rocket.

"SpaceX has signed the world's first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle - an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space", Elon's Muskeers teased on Friday ahead of Monday night's big reveal.

The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 237,685 miles (382,500 kilometers). And SpaceX will perform a number of uncrewed test flights before putting Maezawa and the artists on board.

The BFR spaceship can fit about 100 people, but the "Dear Moon" trip will carry just a skeleton crew to accommodate extra fuel, food, water and spare parts, as a precaution in case something goes wrong, Musk said. "I choose to invite artists from around the world on my journey". These artists will be asked to "see the moon up close and the Earth in full view, and create works that reflect their experience".

"I'm really excited, really honored", he said. He also founded the Contemporary Art Foundation in 2012 which aims to popularize and improve knowledge and education of contemporary art.

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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa speaks at the September 17 SpaceX event about his plans to fly artists around the moon on a BFR mission.

But both said that Maezawa has already made a substantial down payment, and that he's buying the entire flight (meaning the artists will fly for free).

Musk said the billionaire will pay "a lot of money" for the lunar orbit but he declined to disclose the exact amount. It has a material impact on the BFR program.

Maezawa, whose net worth is $2.3 billion, is the founder and CEO of Japan's largest e-commerce company Start Today Co. Musk estimated the total BFR system would cost around $5bn to develop, perhaps as much as $10bn and more than $2bn.

Maezawa's other hobby is amassing valuable works of modern art and past year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5million. The interior cabin volume has been increased to at least 1,000 cubic meters, and up to 1,100. It also has a forward moving wing near the nose, Musk wrote on Twitter.

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Besides the changed fins, with improve the aerodynamic control of the vehicle when entering an atmosphere, the updated spaceship now has seven Raptor engines identical to the ones on the booster stage.

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon.

That mission was to use SpaceX's Dragon crew capsule and Falcon Heavy rocket.

Musk gave some more detail about the BFR on Monday.

He offered a cautionary note about that schedule, though. The launch is scheduled to happen in 2023.

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'When you are pushing the frontier, it is not a sure thing.



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