Japanese Billionaire Books First Moonshot Aboard SpaceX's 'Big Falcon Rocket'

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The new SpaceX strategy is to still fly around the moon without landing, but use an even bigger rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship.

It's the latest headline-grabbing project by Maezawa, whose Twitter handle is @yousuck2020. "I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon", he said.

HAWTHORNE, California - Elon Musk and his rocket company, SpaceX, have revealed who will fly their spaceship around the moon for the first time: a Japanese entrepreneur and billionaire named Yusaku Maezawa.

"I thought about how [this flight] could contribute to world peace", said Maezawa.

Mr Musk added: "We will carry out many test flights before we put any people on board".

The Japanese billionaire who will become the first ever private tourist to fly around the moon.

He said that he was inspired to bring a group of renowned artists with him around the moon after thinking of the art Basquiat might have created had he flown through space.

Musk said the two wannabe spacefarers had paid a deposit for their now-abandoned 2018 Moon trip.

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said last week that there was "no chance" that Musk's conduct will impact SpaceX's ability to win contracts, and that there's been "no impact at all" on the level of confidence in him on the part of the closely held company's backers. 'We are honored that he chose us'. The billionaire has made a name for himself as an art collector.

Maezawa made his fortune by building up Start Today, an e-commerce business that includes a popular online clothing site in Japan.

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Zozo shares fell as much as 4.7 percent and closed down 2.4 percent.

He has not announced major art purchases so far this year, suggesting at least some of the funds may have been used to participate in Musk's mission.

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. Maezawa launched his online fashion retail website Zozotown in 2004.

The first would-be civilian passenger to the moon was already signalling his interest in outer space before the announcement.

Maezawa isn't going to the moon alone. "Just staring at the moon, it filled my imagination". It aims to launch its first crewed mission to the space station in the second quarter of 2019.

"This has done a lot to restore my faith in humanity - that somebody's willing to do this", Musk said. In an essay last month, he said gross domestic product was an inadequate way to measure progress.

Notable is the fact that Maezawa wishes to take people whose professions have - to date - prevented them from accessing space.

In an interview with Bloomberg News in July, Maezawa talked about his love for making things.

According to Forbes, Mr Maezawa started out selling records by his favourite bands by mail from his house. In an interview to Forbes past year, a passionate Maezawa said, "I'd like to emphasize in the construction (of the museum) that each work of art plays a leading role in the museum".