Japanese billionaire will be first moon visitor


Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has revealed the first private passenger it plans to fly around the Moon.

Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42,  has been announced as the first passenger that will go to the moon. He is expected to lift-off on the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a launch system that was unveiled by Mr Musk in 2016.

The mission, which is currently planned for 2023, will become the first visit to the Moon by humans since Nasa’s Apollo 17 landing in 1972. SpaceX made the announcement at its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday.

The company said the flight represented “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space”.

Earlier on Twitter, Mr Musk had already hinted that the passenger would be from Japan. Mr Maezawa made headlines last year after paying $110.5m (£85.4m) for a painting by the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat at an auction in New York.

Only 24 humans have visited the Moon – all of them Americans. Some of the Apollo missions orbited without landing, as this one will.

However, this launch will rely on a rocket that has not been built yet, and Mr Musk has said: “It’s not 100% certain we can bring this to flight.”

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