SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced Monday night that entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa would be the first private person to fly solo around the moon aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) launch vehicle. According to Forbes magazine's rich list, there are 34 Japanese-born billionaires in the world, though many of them may be too old to take the trip.
Elon Musk, the founder of the rocket company SpaceX, plans to reveal who the company's first lunar space tourist will be on Monday night.
The BFR will eventually replace Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, but not until all of SpaceX's customers are on board, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in April.
In typical fashion for any company owned by Elon Musk, they've chose to do so by blasting a single person - the world's first private passenger, around the moon and back to test the rocket's capability for far space travel. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond.
The BFR was first announced in 2016, touted as the most powerful rocket in history, even more potent than the Saturn V Moon rocket that launched the Apollo missions five decades ago.
On Monday, September 17, SpaceX is set to announce the name of the mystery passenger who it will launch into orbit around the moon.
By comparison, the Falcon Heavy is 70m tall and consists of a central rocket core surrounded by two boosters, each with a diameter of 3.66m.
But Musk threw a curve ball during a Falcon Heavy press conference earlier this year when he told reporters that, for the time being, SpaceX had no plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.
The spacecraft will continue on toward the Moon, powered by its own engines.
A Mars trip could take 3 to 6 months, including several fuel-ups. Blue Origin's price has not been revealed.
But so far this year, his space firm has also kept up a schedule outpaced only by the Chinese government, making 15 launches with its Falcon 9 rocket.