SpaceX tourist revealed: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to fly around moon | News | DW | 18.09.2018
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SpaceX tourist revealed: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to fly around moon

Japanese billionaire, online fashion tycoon and art collector Yusaku Maezawa will be the first civilian passenger to circle the moon. The businessman is set to blast off on a SpaceX rocket in 2023.

Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese businessman and art collector worth some $3 billion (€2.6 billion), will be the world's first tourist to fly on a SpaceX rocket around the moon.

Yusaku Maezawa

Maezawa is the chief executive of Zozo, which operates Japan's popular fashion shopping site Zozotown

"I choose to go to the moon," Maezawa said to cheers and applause at the California headquarters of the US aerospace company, after being introduced by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Read more: NASA names astronauts for first commercial space flights

Maezawa is the 18th richest person in Japan, according to Forbes magazine. The 42-year-old said he will invite six to eight artists, architects, designers and other creative people on the weeklong journey in 2023.

"They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth," he said. "These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us."

'Epic trip'

Speculation was building on social media about the individual's identity ahead of Monday's announcement, with some space fans suggesting it was Musk himself.

Musk's reply showing a Japanese flag had fueled rumors that it could be one of several Japanese businessmen and space enthusiasts, with some naming Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

SpaceX has been hyping the planned Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) Lunar Mission as an epic trip. "Only 24 humans have been to the moon in history," SpaceX noted on Twitter on Friday, adding that no one has visited the moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

cmk, kw/cw (dpa, Reuters)

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