3,2,1: SpaceX counts down to reveal mystery Moon traveler

SpaceX booked'world's first private passenger

SpaceX booked'world's first private passenger

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

"I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us".

Yusaku Maezawa talks about his plans to travel to the moon during a SpaceX press briefing on September 17, 2018.

The company considered the would-be trip an "important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

Maezawa said: "I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this mission to the moon".

Neither Maezawa nor Musk would disclose the price of the flight, but Musk said that Maezawa - who had been one of the two customers for SpaceX's earlier plans for a circumlunar flight on a Dragon announced almost 18 months ago, but since shelved - had already made a down payment.

The moon journey announcement came just hours after it was confirmed that the British diver Vernon Unsworth had filed a defamation lawsuit over Musk labelling him a "pedo".

This could be humanity's first lunar visit since 1972, depending on how NASA's latest moon plans shape up.

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A Martian mission is far more complicated than a back-and-forth trip around the Moon.

He explained: "They [artists] will be asked to create something after they return to Earth". And he doesn't want to go alone either.

SpaceX noted in its announcement last week that "only 24 humans have been to the moon in history".

To make the trip happen, SpaceX is designing a huge, three-finned Big Falcon Rocket, sometimes known as the "Big F****** Rocket". To date, the Saturn Vs are the only launch vehicles that have carried humans beyond low Earth orbit. It became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and safely return it to Earth in 2010, and the first commercial enterprise to fly to the space station in 2012 on a supply mission.

The BFR spacecraft's shape is reminiscent of the space shuttle, the bus-like United States spaceships that carried astronauts to space 135 times from 1981 to 2011. Its last rocket, the Falcon Heavy, had its first successful launch almost five years later than planned.

The capacity will eventually be 100 tonnes, said Elon Musk, but the rocket will always be able to reach the Moon and, one day, Mars.

In February this year a global audience was transfixed by the successful test launch of the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world that was originally lined up to take space tourists to the moon - before being set aside for that goal in favour of the BFR. Musk said Maezawa's payment is big enough to "have a material effect on paying for cost and development of BFR", which could cost as much as $5 billion overall. He also encouraged Musk to join the mission.

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