A TWITTER announcement from Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has revealed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the moon aboard its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).
Space travel has exploded in recent years with multiple companies and developers joining the space race in an attempt to be the pioneering space tourism provider.
In 2016, SpaceX founder, CEO, and lead designer Musk unveiled plans for its next-generation launch vehicle and spacecraft system – the BFR.
The BFR is meant to support all SpaceX launch service provider capabilities, including Earth-orbit, Lunar-orbit, interplanetary missions, and even intercontinental passenger transport on Earth.
In 2017, Musk announced he would be sending two paying passengers on a loop around the moon. And Tuesday’s announcement revealed it to be “fashion innovator and globally recognised art curator Yusaku Maezawa.”
SpaceX said it’s “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space.”
Leading up to the announcement, Musk shared new artist impressions of the BFR and the spaceship which will carry passengers around the moon.
According to Musk, the rocket is expected to stand 106 metres high and have a diameter of nine metres.
Musk dropped some hints as to who the first selected would be leading up to Tuesday’s announcement, tweeting an emoji of a Japanese flag days before the big reveal.
Lasting about a week, the journey will come as close as 125 miles to the Moon’s surface before completing lunar transit and returning back to Earth. pic.twitter.com/1P4HSHxaNU
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 18, 2018
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. Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17. pic.twitter.com/64z4rygYhk
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 14, 2018
So, who is Yusaku Maezawa and what do we know about him so far:
He is a Japanese billionaire who made his fortune by founding the wildly popular online fashion retailer Zozo.
Maezawa, who also used to be a former drummer in a punk band, will be the first passenger to travel the moon since the US’ Apollo missions ended in 1972, according to Reuters.
This is, of course, assuming no one will beat SpaceX to it in the meantime.
The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 382,500 kilometres and only 24 humans have been to the moon in history, all of them Americans.
It is unclear how much Maezawa paid for the trip, but he said he will invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people on the weeklong journey.
Musk promised the BFR will shuttle the passenger to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, using the hashtag #OccupyMars.
Having said that, the BFR is far from ready to send a passenger around the moon as it has never flown. In fact, it has not even been built yet.
Musk has ambitious plans to have it ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2020 and a crewed flight in 2024.
This article originally appeared on our sister site Travel Wire Asia.