03 March 2021 News

Japanese billionaire offers space seats on his private lunar trip

Yusaku Maezawa dearMoon trip is expected to loop around the Moon before returning to Earth and is now open to applicants from around the world. Image: dearMoon
Yusaku Maezawa dearMoon trip is expected to loop around the Moon before returning to Earth and is now open to applicants from around the world. Image: dearMoon

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who paid an undisclosed sum for a trip into space onboard a SpaceX rocket, has opened up the private lunar expedition to eight people from around the world.

The flight, scheduled to take place in 2023, was originally meant to be filled with six to eight lucky artists as a way of inspiring their work.

However, those plans have now evolved, said the online fashion tycoon who on Wednesday, revealed a broader application process via a video posted on his Twitter account.

"I'm inviting you to join me on this mission. Eight of you from all around the world," Maezawa said.

"I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride," he added.

To be in with a chance of being a chosen one, the entrepreneur said applicants would need to fulfil just two criteria: being ready to "push the envelope" creatively, and being willing to help other crew members do the same.

Would-be space travellers need to pre-register by 14 March, and initial screening of the applicants are expected to carried out by 21 March.

Those who are selected have a chance of going further than any human has ever gone from Earth before, as the private space slight will not land on the Moon, but loop behind it instead.

"It'll be the first private spaceflight, first commercial spaceflight with humans beyond Earth orbit," Elon Musk said in a video announcement with the Japanese billionaire. "So this has never occurred before. We're gonna go past the moon, so it will actually end up being further than ... any human has ever gone."

Musk intends to use his huge, reusable, stainless steel spaceship called Starship to ferry passengers into space and one day onto Mars.

Starship prototypes are now on their tenth iteration following a crash of both SN8 and SN9 while attempting to land after test launches from the company’s rocket facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

SpaceX hope to perform a high altitude flight test of SN10 today (3 March) and even if a similar outcome arises Musk is confident that SpaceX will fly its deep-space rocket in orbit "many, many times before 2023.”

"It will be safe enough for human transport by 2023 – it's looking very promising," Musk said.

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