SpaceX, the Elon Musk company that is trying to make commercial space travel a reality, has announced its first Lunar BFR customer: bilionaire Yusaku Maezawa from Japan.
He didn’t just buy the first ticket to travel around the moon. He purchased all of them. But he’s not going alone. He intends to invite 6 to 8 artists to come with him and make their works of art following the trip. He calls it the Dear Moon project.
In standard SpaceX fashion, the company held a press event and streamed it live on Youtube to make the announcements. Journalists from around the world gathered to get a glimpse of the soon-to-be amateur space traveler. 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.
It was scheduled to begin at 6 pm PST, but was delayed for unknown reasons. Musk finally took the stage at 6:14 pm. He initially seemed nervous, ignoring the teleprompters and delivering an awkward few stuttering moments. He eventually took off his heavy leather jacket and seemed more at ease.
He began by stating his goal was to help humanity become a multi-planetary civilization as quickly as possible. “There could be some natural event or some man-made event that ends civilization as we know it,” he warned.
The Big Falcon Rocket will travel around the moon and back. Though the rocket has not been built yet, they intend an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022 and a crewed flight in 2024. The screens at the event displayed what SpaceX envisioned as their Martian base of the future.
The announcement came 10 years to the month following SpaceX’s first successful space flight. It was their fourth attempt. The first three failed horribly.
Musk then started discussing the BFR itself. Here are some of the visuals he shared:
Maezawa has a website where he will be giving more details about his Dear Moon Project. Here’s the video from the site: