Meet Yusaku Maezawa, the first private passenger to take SpaceX’s BFR around the moon

Japanese billionaire and entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa will be the first private citizen to take a flight around the moon in SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket, a 240,000-mile journey slated for as early as 2023.

In an emotional and jubilant speech during a SpaceX event Monday at the company’s headquarters in near Los Angeles, Maezawa exclaimed “I choose to go to the moon!”

Maezawa will be the first passenger to travel to the moon since the 1972 Apollo mission conducted by the United States.

“This is my life long dream,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid I loved the moon, just staring at the moon it filled my imagination. It’s always there and continues to inspire.”

Maezawa has ticked just about every box on the list of possible careers in life. He’s an entrepreneur and musician, designer, artist and the founder and CEO of online fashion retailer Zozotown.

Neither Maezawa or Musk would disclose how much he is paying. Although Musk called him the real deal and noted the deposit was significant.

The BFR has not been built. Musk said the success of the project will depend on sources of revenue, including paying customers.

Musk teased the announcement — and a new-looking BFR design — in a tweet Thursday evening,  that it SpaceX had “signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle.”

Musk revealed a few more details about the BFR during the Monday night event. The BFR, a two-stage reusable spaceship capable of taking a 100 metric ton payload to Mars, will be about 118 meters long. The BFR, meant to stand for Big Falcon Rocket or anything else that might spring to mind, is designed to be sustainable interplanetary spaceship. It will eventually replace SpaceX’s other rockets such as Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.

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