SpaceX set to identify first paying passenger for trip aroound the moon

Elon Musk had said two humans take that trip at some point in 2018

Elon Musk had said two humans take that trip at some point in 2018

Japanese billionaire businessman Yusaku Maezawa appeared alongside Musk yesterday to announce he's signed up for the trip, known as the "moon loop", which could take place as soon as 2023.

Maezawa said, 'Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon!

"It's not 100 percent certain that we succeed in getting this to flight [by 2023]", Musk said.

But the name of the passenger wasn't announced until Monday night, during a webcast announcement from SpaceX's Hawthorne facility. Speculation started days before that the person would be Japanese because of the prevalence of Japanese media invited to the event as well as Tweet by Musk of a Japanese flag.

Mr Maezawa made headlines previous year after paying $110.5m (£85.4m) for a painting by the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat at an auction in NY. He expects that these masterpieces will inspire the dreamers in us.

As of today, only 24 humans - all Americans have traveled from Earth to the moon.

Maezawa isn't going to the moon alone. It will then for the dark side and head back to Earth after a slingshot maneuver.

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The Big Falcon Rocket may not be ready for human flight for five years at least, according to Musk.

Musk said on Twitter SpaceX's contracts with NASA remain a top priority, including the commercial crew program to shuttle NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The BFR has never flown, but Mr Musk has released some technical details about it. The company has previously created rockets that can be landed and reused, and it is working on its Dragon capsule to eventually carry astronauts to the ISS.

The billionaire has reportedly already placed a large deposit on the flight which is helping SpaceX in the development of the BFR launch platform that will actually take the passengers around the Moon. The BFR has also been redesigned with three fins, two of which can move to help steer the craft when it lands on a surface.

The SpaceX founder has attracted some uncomfortable headlines of late - he recently smoked marijuana during a webcast with a United States comedian.

The British diver, Vernon Unsworth, sued Musk for defamation on Monday and is seeking more than $75,000. Musk will soon announce who that first person is.

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