(AP) — After announcing that he’ll take the first-ever commercial rocket trip around the moon, Yusaku Maezawa said he wants company for the weeklong journey.
The Japanese billionaire said he plans to invite six to eight artists, architects, designers, and other creative people to join him on board the SpaceX rocket “to inspire the dreamer in all of us.”
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.
Maezawa, 42, said he wants his guests for the lunar orbit “to see the moon up close, and the Earth in full view, and create work to reflect their experience.”
Musk said the entrepreneur, founder of Japan’s largest retail website and one of the country’s richest people, will pay “a lot of money” for the trip but declined to disclose the exact amount.
Maezawa came to SpaceX with the idea for the group flight, Musk said.
“I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself,” said Maezawa, wearing a blue sports jacket over a white T-shirt printed with a work by the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Musk said the BFR is still in development and will make several unmanned test launches before it takes on passengers.
The reusable 387 feet rocket will have its own dedicated passenger ship, and its development is expected to cost about US$5 billion, Musk said.
The mission will not involve a lunar landing.
The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 237,685 miles.
Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA’s Apollo programme in the 1960’s.