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Elon Musk names space tourist to launch on BFR moon mission

19 September 2018

"Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the Moon", Maezawa said at SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California, in the middle of metropolitan Los Angeles, late Monday.

It's a risky investment 42-year-old Maezawa is willing to make for a shot at a lunar legacy. A Japanese businessman, Maezawa is the founder and chief executive of online fashion brand Zozotown.

A man with an artistic bent, Maezawa was part of a band when he founded Start Today in 1998, which was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2007.

Until now, Americans are the only ones who have left Earth's orbit.

"Finally I can tell you that I have chosen to go to the moon" with artists, Maezawa said. "That is why I could not pass up the opportunity to see the moon up close". I want to share this experience with as many people as possible. "I choose to invite artists from around the world on my journey".

He said: "In 2023, as the host, I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this missions to the Moon". That's not a symbolic claim; he actually plans on recruiting up to eight artists who will join him and participate in a project he calls #dearMoon.

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The BFR is not just a Moon ship though.

Notable is the fact that Maezawa wishes to take people whose professions have - to date - prevented them from accessing space. What wonderful masterpiece would he have created? Or Andy Warhol or Michael Jackson or John Lennon?

Prior to that, the SpaceX CEO tweeted out a handful of hopeful visuals for the future of the BFR. The billionaire said he hopes the group will include a musician, sculptor, painter, film director, dancer, photographer, architect, novelist, and fashion designer.

Musk said SpaceX would conduct several uncrewed test launches of the BFR. He stepped forward to do it.

Originally, Maezawa had purchased from SpaceX a circumlunar voyage to be completed using the company's Crew Dragon atop SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket - which conducted its highly successful maiden flight on 6 February 2018 from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center, sending Mr. Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster into a slightly-farther than Mars distance heliocentric (around the Sun) orbit.

The lawsuit brought by Vernon Unsworth, who helped with the rescue of 12 Thai teenagers from a flooded cave in July, seeks $75,000 (£57,000) in compensation and an injunction against Mr Musk to stop further allegations.

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The BFR is 118-meter long with a capacity of 1100 cubic meters that can easily carry 100 tons of crew and cargo.

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.

Musk described it on Monday as an "interplanetary transport system that's capable of getting people anywhere in the solar system".

He also mentioned the fact that SpaceX narrowly came into existence.

The first BFR is now being built in a purpose-built warehouse in Florida.

So, artists, who wants to go to the moon?

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Elon Musk names space tourist to launch on BFR moon mission