During a news conference at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, company founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced Maezawa as the first passenger on the new BFR (sometimes short for "Big Falcon Rocket") rocket-spaceship duo now under construction, and confirmed that Maezawa would ride in a loop around the moon.
Maezawa announced on his Twitter and Instagram accounts that he plans to take a select group of artists with him on his trip around the Moon said: "I choose to go to the Moon, with artists", adding then "What will they see?"
Maezawa has chartered a flight aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket, which is still being developed, for a slingshot trip around the Moon as soon as 2023.
The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 237,685 miles (382,500 kilometres ). He said then that two people who know each other approached the company about a weeklong flight to the moon and back.
SpaceX has said it will also reveal why the person is going. Last year, he announced the acquisition of a Jean-Michel Basquiat masterpiece worth $110.5 million. Maezawa says he has often wondered what Basquiat might have drawn if he had traveled into space. "There are so many artists with us today that I wish could create unbelievable works of art for humankind, for children of the next generation". "I choose to go to the moon, with artists", Maezawa tweeted both in Japanese and English.
Last year, Musk said the BFR's admittedly "ambitious" goal was to make a test flight to Mars in 2022, followed by a crewed flight to the Red Planet in 2024.
The reusable 118m rocket will have its own dedicated passenger ship and its development is expected to cost about US$5 billion, Musk said. The Falcon Heavy rocket launched four year later than planned, while the crew capsule will have been delayed by five years when it sends the first crew of astronauts to the International Space Station in 2019.
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This could be humanity's first lunar visit since 1972, depending on how NASA's latest moon plans shape up. He would fly on a rocket made by the SpaceX company.
He made headlines in 2016 when he paid more than $57 million at auction for an untitled work by Basquiat.
Wondering how much he paid for this private ticket?
SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said last week that there was "no chance" that Musk's conduct will impact SpaceX's ability to win contracts, and that there's been "no impact at all" on the level of confidence in him on the part of the closely held company's backers.
In the past few months, Musk has lashed out at analysts during an earnings call for Tesla, his electric vehicle company, for asking "boring, bonehead questions".
He's planning to take six to eight artists with him, and he won't be charging them for the ride.
So just who is this eccentric billionaire risking his life to be SpaceX's first space tourist?