The wait is over, as SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, announced who will be the first private citizen to fly beyond low level Earth orbit. Possibly by 2023, Japanese founder of the e-commerce Zozo, Yusaku Maezawa, could be flying to the moon.
Maezawa, who also collects art, stated he will share his dream of seeing the moon up close. He would like to take, at his expense, 6-8 artists with him. Hopefully, they will then share their experiences with the rest of us. Maezawa sees this, his “dearMoon” mission, as an opportunity to “inspire the dreamer inside all of us”.
The vehicle, by which Maezawa’s “dearMoon” mission will travel, is SpaceX’s BFR, which stands for Big Falcon Rocket, or according to Musk, Big F***ing Rocket. It is estimated the cost for this adventure will be around $5 billion, with the Japanese billionaire having already made a sizable down payment for his guests and himself.
While the BFR will eventually be able to accommodate 100 people, the “dearMoon”
flight will travel with a skeleton crew, plus Maezawa and the artists. This will enable the ship to carry additional fuel, water, and spare parts in case problems are encountered during the trip.
Since no one has been beyond the International Space Station since Apollo 17 Moon Mission ended in December, 1972, there will be short “hopper tests” next year and high-altitude, high-velocity flights in 2020. There also will be unmanned test flights, where all systems and possible events will be worked out prior to sending Maezawa and his artists into space.
In his announcement, Elon Musk stated, “This has done a lot to restore my faith in humanity, that somebody’s willing to do this. He is ultimately helping to pay for the average citizen to be able to travel to other planets. It’s a great thing.” Indeed, the future is here, and space travel is at hand. All aboard!