Moonstruck Japan tycoon to blast off on 1st SpaceX trip

What you need to know about the first tourist that SpaceX is taking around the moon

Japanese billionaire to be sent to moon by SpaceX says he'll bring along architects and other artists

"I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the Moon", Maezawa said.

However, Musk did say that Maezawa brought the idea to him and that the Japanese billionaire's money will help fund development of Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, which the company plans to use for the lunar flight - and eventually, for a flight to Mars. "I choose to go to the moon, with artists", he said, adding he would ask them to create works sparked by the the trip upon their return.

No guidance has been given on when the moon flight could happen.

Musk also anticipates SpaceX's Starlink satellite system to be operational by then, which he said will aid in the broadcast.

"I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself", Maezawa said, wearing a blue sports jacket over a white T-shirt printed with a work by the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.

His love of art led him to decide to invite artists to come along, he said.

The billionaire stood before the audience at SpaceX headquarters on Monday evening and was greeted with cheers as he proclaimed John F. Kennedy's famous line "I choose to go to the moon".

"All right. Maybe we will both be on it", Musk said to cheers and applause.

Musk says the Big Falcon is still under development and will undergo several test launches before it takes on passengers. The reusable 118-meter (387-foot) rocket will have its own dedicated passenger ship.

What you need to know about the first tourist that SpaceX is taking around the moon
Japanese billionaire will be first SpaceX private passenger

The lunar mission could take four or five days, which would feel like a hot minute to Kelly, who has logged 520 days in space, including a yearlong mission on the International Space Station. He will be the eighth space tourist in history, and the first to orbit the moon.

For quite a long time we have been hearing that SpaceX was considering taking some private tourists to the moon as part of its next expedition.

In the meantime, Maezawa and Musk have promised to update the public with the latest updates about the Moon mission in the coming years.

In 2008, Markowsky formally announced that he wanted to paint on the surface of the moon by 2030.

Branson's Virgin Galactic has sold tickets for about $250,000, which is more than the median home price in the United States.

The chief executive of electric carmaker Tesla has previously said he wants the rocket to be ready for an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022, with a crewed flight in 2024, though his ambitious production targets have been known to slip.

The amount Mr Maezawa is paying for the trip was not disclosed, but he told Reuters the total sum was "much higher" than the cost of a Basquiat painting.

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behavior and the struggles of his Tesla electric vehicle company to deliver. SpaceX expects Maezawa, 42, to be the first private passenger to make the journey that only two dozen astronauts have been on during the Apollo era that ended 46 years ago.

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