The US private space firm SpaceX has announced that the company’s first ever private passenger to the Moon will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.
“The first private passenger to fly around the moon aboard BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) is fashion innovator and globally recognised art curator Yusaku Maezawa,” tweeted earlier today by SpaceX.
The 42-year-old billionaire is the founder and CEO of Zozo, the largest online fashion retailer in Japan.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 18, 2018
Maezawa who is also known as a contemporary art collector and curator with an extensive collection at his Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo, which features works of various renowned painters like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Image Source: The New York Times
The Japanese billionaire announced on his Twitter and Instagram accounts that he plans to take a selected group of artists with him on his trip around the moon saying: “I choose to go to the moon, with artists,” he also added “What will they feel? What will they see? And what will they create?”
Yusaku Maezawa is the 18th richest man in Japan with a net worth of over $2.9billion according to Forbes.
His trip to the moon will be made on board a BFR which is currently in development.
The moon is about 385,000km away from the Earth, and the last time an astronaut visited there was in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission.
SpaceX which was founded by billionaire Elon Musk and conceived as a company with long-term ambitions such as taking humans to Mars, SpaceX will ferry four NASA astronauts to space in 2019 with its ‘Crew Dragon’ or Dragon 2 spacecraft.
NASA has also hired Boeing and SpaceX to develop commercial space trips from the US.