Japanese billionaire to be SpaceX’s first space tourist

Elon Musk and Yusaku Maezawa discuss SpaceX Moon trip
Photo credit: GETTY

“I choose to go to the moon, with artists… What will they see? What will they feel? What will they create?”

These were the exact words of Japanese billionaire entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa, who will be the first private passenger on a voyage around the moon via the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), SpaceX announced just last week.

The BFR––which SpaceX is currently developing––is a supersized rocket designed for transportation of people and cargo, and is the flagship of Elon Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

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Yusaku Maezawa, founder of Japan’s largest fashion commerce platform, Zozotown, has always had a fascination for the moon.

“This is a project that I designed and made: #dearMoon. I choose to go to the moon with artists, and in 2023, as the host, I would like to invite 6 to 8 artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon.” His guests, of course, will ride for free.

As of this post, Maezawa hasn’t yet decided which artists has made his guestlist but assures the press his selection will represent some of the world’s greatest talents in a variety of disciplines, including filmmakers, musicians, and traditional painters.

According to Forbes, Maezawa has a net worth of $3 billion and in May famously purchased a 1982 painting by Jean-Michael Basquiat for $110.5 million––a testament to his passion for collecting unique artwork. Maezawa has also declined to state how much has has paid to secure his spot (as well as the eight remaining seats) for the moon trip.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, reiterated that although this is an exciting project to undertake, the mission is indeed a dangerous one. “Pushing frontiers is not a sure thing and there are chances that some things could go wrong.”

Only two dozen people have ever been to the moon, with the 1972 Apollo 17 mission marking the last time a human set foot on the lunar desert. If this mission succeeds, Maezawa will be the first person to go to the moon in more than forty years.