Raising the veil over the first passenger to avail the services of the services of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space transportation company, for a space trip around the moon was revealed by the company. The first private passenger to book a ticket on the flight is Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa who is the owners and founder of online fashion retailer Zozo.
It is likely that Maezawa would be making the trip in 2023 and SapceX would be using the soon to come Big Falcon Rocket spaceship. This will be an important step in the emerging industry of commercialization of space travel.
The SpaceX revealed the name of Maezawa during an event on Monday at Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne where the rocket factory and the company headquarters is located.
“He’s a very brave person to do this,” Musk said of the Japanese entrepreneur.
Six to eight artists would be invited by him to join him on the lunar mission, Maezawa said.
the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR could be tested for a first orbital flight in two to three years, Musk said. He has touted this forthcoming rocket to be ideal for shuttling passengers to the moon and finally take humans and cargo to Mars.
Earlier, Musk had said that he intends to get the rocket to be ready by 2022 for an unpiloted trip to and hoped that by 2024, the rocket would be able to ferry humans. However Musk is known to miss his self imposed deadlines.
“It’s not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight,” Musk said of the lunar mission.
SpaceX did not reveal the amount that Maezawa has agreed to pay for the moon flight but the Japanese billionaire told the Reuters news agency that it was indeed a hefty price.
The amount that Maezawa has given to SpaceX as a deposit is quite significant and would help in the development of the FBR which is estimated to cost about $5 billion, Musk said.
The founding of the very popular shopping site Zozotown has given Maezawa a fortune. A made-to-measure service using a polka dot bodysuit, the Zozosuit is also offered by his company, Zozo which is officially called Start Today Co Ltd.
Maezawa is amongst the few of the celebrities and the ultra-rich who have managed to book a seat for space flights even as there is a race to develop such rockets by companies like Blue Origin, company of Amazon.com founder by Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic, the space exploration company of entrepreneur Richard Branson, apart from SpaceX.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber are among those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions. Such as 90-minute flight costs $250,000.
Reuters had reported in July that around $200,000 to $300,000 would be the cost for short sightseeing trips to space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)