SpaceX names Japanese CEO as passenger to Moon

NHK -- Sep 19
US spaceflight venture SpaceX says Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa will become the first private passenger to fly around the Moon on its next-generation rocket.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the announcement alongside Maezawa at a rocket factory in Los Angeles on Monday. Maezawa is the CEO of Start Today Company, which operates the major online fashion website ZOZOTOWN.

Smiling widely, Maezawa said: "Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go to the Moon." He added he was excited, honored and grateful.

Maezawa said he will invite several artists from around the world to join him on board the Big Falcon Rocket for his trip to the Moon, scheduled for 2023.

The trip is expected to be the first by a private space company. The last time humans orbited the Moon was during the US Apollo missions in the 1960s and 70s.

Musk, who is also CEO of electric carmaker Tesla, said Maezawa is "the bravest person and best adventurer" and that "we're honored that he would choose us."

SpaceX plans to ferry crew to the International Space Station using a new spaceship as early as next year.

The company plans to go ahead with the private space travel after gaining knowhow through the manned flights. The Big Falcon Rocket is now under development. - NHK