1st SpaceX passenger: 'I choose to go to the moon!'

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If all goes according to plan, Maezawa and his artist crew may become the first people to fly SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket - a new launch system that's being created to colonize Mars - and also the first-ever private lunar tourist in history.

The art enthusiast said on Monday he would invite six to eight artists from around the world to join him as he blasts into space on board the SpaceX rocket in 2023. I want to share this experience with as many people as possible.

Stating "I have chosen to go to the Moon" Maezawa, who made his money in the entertainment business, explained that he had been fascinated by the Moon since he was a kid.

The trip will take four or five days, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said at the event.

However, he didn't reveal the identity of the mystery passenger but has promised to provide details via a press conference scheduled for Monday, September 17, at the company's Hawthorne headquarters.

SpaceX/TwitterSpaceX's rendering of a Big Falcon Rocket spaceship carrying a passenger around the moon.

Musk previously described the BFR as the company's largest and most powerful rocket - exceeding the Falcon 9 - a launch vehicle tailored for crewed missions into orbit.

The company has been racing to meet NASA's need of a crew-capable spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station and back, along with Boeing, and both companies have fallen well behind their original schedules.

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Musk outlined a somewhat different SpaceX lunar mission past year.

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. Musk plans to launch an unmanned cargo mission in 2022, with hopes of sending humans to Mars in 2024. Most of the work done so far has been on the spacecraft component rather than the rocket side.

The latest blueprints mark the final major redesign of the rocket, whose development is expected to cost roughly $5 billion, according to Musk.

Musk touched on one of his favorite themes, a call for humanity to become a multi-planetary civilization, as he kicked off the announcement.

The design has since changed, based on new renderings revealed Monday. The trip was set to take place toward the end of this year, but was scrapped when SpaceX made a decision to switch the plan from its Falcon Heavy rocket to the more powerful BFR.

He added that SpaceX plans to shift a majority of the company's engineering efforts towards BFR by the end of next year, and welcomes the growing competition in the private space race.

In moves typical of his publicity-seeking style, Musk, who is also the billionaire chief executive of electric auto maker Tesla Inc, had previously teased a few tantalising details about the trip and the passenger's identity, but left major questions unanswered.

Short sightseeing trips to space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket are likely to cost around US$200,000 to US$300,000, at least to start, Reuters reported in July.

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