File Photo: A Falcon 9 rocket is launched with Spain's PAZ, a radar-imaging satellite, and two SpaceX test satellites for global broadband at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the United States, Feb. 22, 2018. (Xinhua/SpaceX)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- American company SpaceX revealed on Monday that Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire, would be the first private paying customer to ride around the Moon aboard the company's next-generation rocket.
Maezawa, the founder of Japan's largest online clothing retailer site Zozotown, suggested the fly would take place in as early as 2023, and he would invite six to eight artists to board the trip since he "bought all the seats." Maezawa, 42, with a real-time net worth of 2.9 billion dollars, is also an avid art collector.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that Yusaku would be "bringing eight (brave) artists & cultural figures with him on the journey around the moon."
The company considered the would-be trip an "important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space."
Musk said the BFR, or the Big Falcon Rocket, was still in development. Under the current design, the BFR will be 118 meters long, with a payload capacity of 1,100 cubic meters and 100 metric tons.
It will have seven Raptor engines, each capable of 200 tons of thrust, according to Musk.