SpaceX says it will fly private passenger 'around the Moon'

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But both said that Maezawa has already made a substantial down payment, and that he's buying the entire flight (meaning the artists will fly for free).

Now the Elon Musk show returned to the sprawling SpaceX headquarters outside Los Angeles, where the company will - whether intentionally or not - provide a prime-time diversion to the troubles surrounding its celebrity chief executive by providing details about its long-anticipated moon shot.

Maezawa, 42, is the founder and CEO of Zozo, the largest online fashion retailer in Japan. Being a keen arts-lover himself, the billionaire has "bought all the seats" on the spacecraft and is now giving opportunity to as much as eight artists to accompany him on the trip.

Most famous outside Japan for his record-breaking $110 million purchase of an untitled 1982 Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, Maezawa said he would invite six to eight artists to join him on the lunar flyby.

The Japanese billionaire entrepreneur plans to take a group of artists with him on the moon trip as a part of a project called #dearMoon. "So, I choose to go to the moon with artists", he said. In a recent episode of This American Life, he said he was entirely unmoved by the concept of space travel, the idea of traveling to the moon, and what those of us on Earth might think of as the beauty of space.

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According to The New York Times, seven people have paid to go to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket. SpaceX has pulled off feats no one thought possible, from the first successful launch to orbit a decade ago to earlier this year, when the maiden flight of its Falcon Heavy rocket put a Tesla Roadster on a trip toward Mars.

Only 24 astronauts have flown beyond Earth's protective magnetic shield, in missions spanning a four-year period from December 1968 to December 1972.

Musk, 47, made it clear before the private passenger event that crewed spaceflight for NASA remains SpaceX's top priority.

"I did not want to have such a fantastic experience by myself, that would be a little lonely", he said.

In 2008, Markowsky formally announced that he wanted to paint on the surface of the moon by 2030.

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"It'll feel like you're there in real-time minus a few seconds for speed of light", Musk said.

Musk said, "It makes a difference".

"He stepped forward to do it".

The tweet about the moon came as Musk faced new problems for another tweet.

The company noted that the trip will last about a week.

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SpaceX said it has signed the first private moon traveler, with some changes to its original game plan. SpaceX's other major venture thus far, the Falcon Heavy, which is a reusable heavy lift launch vehicle, took almost twice as long to complete than expected. Bezos' Blue Origin has been tight-lipped about the price of its tickets, but Reuters reported in July that they could cost in the $200,000 range.

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