The private passenger was announced on Monday via a YouTube live stream by Elon Musk, founding member of SpaceX. The passenger is named Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire who owns Zozotown, Japan’s largest online fashion retail website. Maezawa not only bought himself a ticket to the moon, but is also paying for much of the development of the rocket that will fly him up.
Maezawa stated he would like to take a group of artists with him on this Moon mission. The art project is called Dear Moon Project. These artists include a film director, novelist, painter, dancer, musician, fashion designer, photographer, sculptor and an architect.
Maezawa and the artists will be the world’s first private passengers to fly around the moon. Plans are set to take SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket, a rocket that is in development for the journey. The flight to the moon itself will take around four to five days. But before anyone goes to the moon, the final building of the rocket will need to be finished and unmanned tests will need to be completed. The expected launch date is planned for sometime in 2023.
SpaceX has stated that this is “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space.”
In this announcement, Musk also heavily stated the importance of humanity becoming a multi-planetary species.