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Elon Musk Names Tycoon Set to Fly Around the Moon

'I choose to go to the moon,' says Yusaka Maezawa
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2018 2:13 AM CDT
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, left, speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, right, as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018,...   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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(Newser) – "I choose to go to the moon," Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa declared at an event at SpaceX's California headquarters Monday night. SpaceX founder Elon Musk revealed Maezawa as the company's first paying passenger on a voyage around the moon scheduled for 2023, reports Reuters. Maezawa, who will become the first person to travel that far into space since the Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972, has signed up for the voyage in SpaceX's still unbuilt Big Falcon Rocket spaceship. Musk, who described the 42-year-old Mawzawa as "very brave," admitted it is not "100% certain we can bring this to flight."

Musk said the BFR launch vehicle, which he envisions carrying passengers and cargo to the moon and Mars, will be ready for orbital flights in two or three years. SpaceX did not disclose how much Maezawa is paying for the out-of-this-world trip, but he tells Reuters it's more than the $110 million he famously paid for a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. The tycoon said he would invite six to eight artists to travel with him on the spacecraft, which will loop around the moon without stopping, the BBC reports. "They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth," he said. "These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us." (SpaceX's earlier plan to fly two people to the moon this year has been shelved.)

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