1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

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Astronauts last visited the moon during NASA's Apollo program. The company said the passengers paid a "significant deposit" for the trip but did not identify them.

"When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing".

Originally, Maezawa had purchased from SpaceX a circumlunar voyage to be completed using the company's Crew Dragon atop SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket - which conducted its highly successful maiden flight on 6 February 2018 from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center, sending Mr. Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster into a slightly-farther than Mars distance heliocentric (around the Sun) orbit. Maezawa will take up to 8 artists with him on the flight.

The high cost of the trip - estimated at around $150m (£120m) - means the person is also presumably a billionaire.

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"Maybe we'll both be on it", Musk said with a smile. He also mentioned that SpaceX spends less than five percent of its budget on the BFR, but it could increase.

SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell gave a more generous time frame for BFR's debut during a TED Talk in April, saying it would launch "within a decade".

The BFR is essentially a 48m long spaceship attached to the top of a reusable 36m rocket booster.

According to Musk's presentation [PDF] previous year, the mighty BFR will stand 118 metres tall when erected on its launchpad, and will be able to lift 150 tons into low Earth orbit with the help of a massive central booster, making it the most powerful rocket ever to fly. The previous spaceship iteration sported just two rear fins.

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SpaceX says it will identify the adventurous traveler Monday who will become the first person to travel to the moon since 1972 - although the trip won't include an actual landing. The trip will take up to a week, SpaceX says.

SpaceX has announced the identity of its first passenger to fly on its forthcoming BFR spacecraft, headed around the moon in 2023. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early past year to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

"I'd like to introduce the first paying customer", Musk said before bringing out Maezawa at a company event, which was livestreamed. And SpaceX will perform a number of uncrewed test flights before putting Maezawa and the artists on board.

The as-of-yet-unnamed patron will be paying a huge price for the privilege of traveling around the Moon, and SpaceX has a huge job ahead of it to actually make the trip happen.

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