Japanese Billionaire is Passenger on SpaceX BFR Moon Flight

Yusaku Maezawa at SpaceX headquarters. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa was introduced on Monday as the customer for SpaceX’s planned circumlunar flight aboard the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

The 42-year old billionaire, who founded the clothing company Zozo (www.zozo.com) and collects high-priced art, said he plans to invited six to eight artists on the trip who would create works of art after returning home. The passengers could include painters, sculptors, film directors, architects, writers and fashion designers.

Musk praised Maezawa as brave to take the flight. “This is dangerous, let’s be clear,” Musk warned. “This is no walk in the park.”

Maezawa’s flight is tentatively scheduled to occur in 2023. SpaceX Founder Elon Musk admitted he was not sure of the date because BFR is still under development.

Musk said Maezawa made a significant deposit on the expensive voyage around the moon. The funds will help fund the development and testing of the reusable rocket/spacecraft, which Musk estimated will cost $5 billion.

Maezawa is calling his flight Dear Moon and has established a website, dearmoon.earth. The flight’s Twitter handle is @dearmoonmission.

  • Paul451

    there is a video record of the various options they worked through.

    Could you find this for me? I’ve not heard of that.

  • windbourne

    yeah. I did not realize it, but it makes the 380 look small. Pretty big.

  • ThomasLMatula

    What are you talking about? The venture capital came from Elon Musk and his investors. SpaceX only got paid when the finished providing the required services to NASA. In short, when they delivered the services NASA bought.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    It’s my understanding Space X got funded for development of the Falcon 9 and the Dragon, and Dragon 2. I’ll have to go look it up, but my memory is telling me the process was not even competitive such as a combat aircraft would have been. Musk capitalized on the close relationship he had with Mike Griffen to receive development funds for space station resupply post shuttle.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Just my point, and that will take more time and a conflict of interest between Space X’s need to make money in the established market place vs furthering the art project.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    You are hitting on a big problem we both agree on. From my time sitting out the Bush recession as a network admin at the math dept at the UofA, I had a lot of contact with professors who had some really good insights as to why American children lag the rest of the world in education, and some of those professors blame the parents as the root of the problem. One went so far as to do a research project where not only did they start a math tutoring program for the students, but also for the parents as well. That said, yes both left and right have striven to turn the American academic environment into a exercise in propaganda that pushes both side’s skewed worldview. No arguments there.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    In earlier times they would be. However, I would not call them socialist, more fascist per Benito Mussilini’s definition, but that’s a toxic label today and you can’t argue that without turning off the conversation. However, you’re right, I’m saying that these are not capitalist enterprises who are raising their capital on the open marketplace. They are forcing most of their venture capital and securing future business from the taxpayers just as my paycheck is forced from your hands per my paycheck from an educational institution. I’m not saying they should not do it. I understand why they do. However having done so, I argue they should be treated as a different form of corporation and they should be regulated and taxed differently than a corporation grown organically in the marketplace free of government largess. In exchange for the nature of my paycheck I take a $30,000 to $40,000 a year pay cut to work in my chosen field. For a corporation to pass on the startup capital and technical risk while reaping the full economic benefits of the profit is good business, but another form of theft.

  • envy

    The $6 million includes upper stage reuse, which has been an on-again, off-again plan for F9 for a decade. The upper stage likely costs around $10 million, so the lower cost bound without reusing it is somewhere around $15 million.

    F9 is currently supposed to be 10 flights between major overhauls… that’s nothing at all like a commercial airliner. There might be some ultra high performance specialty planes like that.

  • envy

    To SpaceX this is a paying customer, not an “art project”. It’s the only paying customer for BFR at the moment, as far as we know.

    Developing both the cargo and crew versions is not that different than developing the fairing and Dragon versions of F9. They share almost everything behind the payload.

  • envy

    There’s little reason to hop multiple versions to test that version. The propulsion, avionics, and reentry/decent/landing systems are the same between both versions.

    On the other hand, they might hop every vehicle to test it out before launching to space.

  • Robert G. Oler

    yes the key is to have government funds enable private contractors to enable free enterprise…see Syncom series of communications sats

    the problem is that government goals in US space flight are and have been made with little concern for anything other then national pride AND now today the space industrial complex.

    Bezos recognizes the need for an economic engine in space. I am not for sure Musk does

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Well, to the paying customer, it’s an art project by his own words.

    Well the BFR versions be invariant beyond the payload section? I highly doubt it. Don’t forget when Crew Dragon was shown to the public it was only a few months away from flying given it’s shared heritage to Dragon 1. That was almost 6 years ago now …. with a paying customer.

  • Robert G. Oler

    if they get to 10 thats probably a good thing…unless there are no cost savings from it…ie it cost more to reuse then it does to build new at some point.