Musk's SpaceX will fly Japanese billionaire to the Moon

20 September, 2018, 13:13 | Author: Chad Warren
  • SpaceX booked'world's first private passenger

The Big Falcon Rocket will travel around the moon and back.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa stood before the audience gathered at SpaceX headquarters Monday evening and was greeted by cheers when he echoed a line from a famous speech by President John F. Kennedy, proclaiming "I choose to go to the moon".

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.

"Why do I want to go to the moon?"

Can Elon Musk and SpaceX pull this off?

The Moon is about 385,000 km away from Earth and the last time an astronaut travelled there was in 1972 as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

In February 2017, SpaceX said two "private citizens" had "paid a significant deposit" for a trip around the moon. The trip to the moon will be on the SpaceX rocket, called a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) which might not be ready for at least five years.

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"I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us", Maezawa wrote on the website for the project, #DearMoon. The BFR's principal goal is to carry settlers and their stuff to Mars, 100 passengers at a time. Though the rocket has not been built yet, they intend an unpiloted trip to Mars in 2022 and a crewed flight in 2024.

The Musk-led space company called the announcement "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

Musk has not revealed how much his "Lunar BFR Mission" will cost in the long run, but Maezawa surely won't have a hard time footing the bill.

"I'm not sure if we will test a flight around the Moon or not, but we will probably try doing that before sending any people".

SpaceX/YouTube Musk released the proposed trajectory of the first lunar SpaceX flight with a paying customer, which could take place as early as 2023.

By comparison, the Falcon Heavy is 70m tall and consists of a central rocket core surrounded by two boosters, each with a diameter of 3.66m.

The unmarried father of three will be making his lunar voyage inside a "BFR launch vehicle" - described by SpaceX as "the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond".

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