Who is Yusaku Maezawa?

Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX.                  Video screenshot by CNET

Enlarge Image Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa speaks about his moon mission through SpaceX. Video screenshot by CNET

SpaceX previously announced plans to eventually use Falcon Heavy to launch paying space tourists on a trip around the moon, but Musk said in February he was inclined to reserve that mission for the BFR.

Only 24 astronauts have flown beyond Earth's protective magnetic shield, in missions spanning a four-year period from December 1968 to December 1972. Rest assured Maezawa, I won't say no.

"I love art, so I want to see what artists will collaborate on together and see it directly with my eyes", Maezawa said.

Maezawa will soon start the process of choosing the artists to take with him, with everyone needing to go through training and preparation in the years leading up to launch. (When asked, Maezawa did not reveal how much he has/will pay for the trip.) But he's not planning on throwing a space rager with his buddies; he wants to invite six to eight artists to share the trip with him to see what great works the journey to and up-close look at the moon may elicit from them. He's yet to choose the artists who will accompany him.

Business Insider will be reporting live from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, as we meet the passenger and as Musk reveals why the person is making the trip. "Please don't say no", Maezawa said. "Usually there are many setbacks and issues", Musk said.

Looping a human around the moon is just the first stage of a plan that is targeted on the moon, Mars, Jupiter and beyond. Musk estimated the BFR development will cost around $5 billion.

That now stands to change with BFR and signals a synergy between SpaceX and Maezawa in terms of using the BFR architecture to make space accessible to everyone. "Some of Earth's greatest talents will board a spacecraft and be inspired in a way they have never been before", Maezawa's new #dearMoon website reads.

Nevertheless, Musk said the Japanese billionaire actually chose his company for the Lunar mission, and not the other way around.

An unconventional entrepreneur, Maezawa, the chief executive of Start Today Co. that runs the shopping site, has said "I dislike competing with others".

"If I'm going to go to space, I'd rather go as far as I can", he said.

The BFR is a long way from reality and Musk himself says he's "not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight". Last year, he spent $110.5 million to buy a painting by Jean-Michel Pasquiat.

The company is still developing the BFR rocket, which will be the successor to SpaceX's oft-used Falcon 9 rocket and its upgraded version, the Falcon Heavy.

SpaceX said the journey would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space".

Next year, SpaceX - which has received billions in NASA funding to ferry supplies to the ISS and build a crew vehicle - hopes to become the first private company to send astronauts to the space station.

"The reason for creating SpaceX was to accelerate the advent of humanity becoming a space bearing civilisations, to advance rocket technology to become a multiplanet species and becoming a true space bearing species", Musk said.

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