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.

  • windbourne

    I really do not think that he is being erratic as much as not filtering inner thoughts. Normally, we all filter. He is just getting a little bit to comfortable.

    For example, I would be amazed if Musk does NOT have insider info about pedoman. The caver lives at ground zero for pedophilia.
    BUT, to bring it up Not once, Not Twice, but THREE TIMES?????
    Foolish. He gave him no choice but to have to sue. Hopefully, Musk has real data on the guy.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Remember, during his Administration the United States was exploring the polar regions with the exploration being done by the military, especially the U.S. Navy, leading the way. The first station at the South Pole was built by the Seabees. Everyone expected the same model would be used for space exploration. After all the first U.S. satellites launched were by the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. The reason President Eisenhower was able to push for a civilian space agency, in contrast to the long history of the military leading exploration efforts, was because he had NACA to use as the core of it.

    As for the U.S. Army Base on the Moon, a little blast from the past. BTW Marshall Space Center was able to develop the Saturn V as fast as it did because it was already working on the F-1 Engine for the venture.

    https://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/an-army-base-on-the-moon/

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Hopefully he does not have anything on the guy and he gets his ass sued off for failure to filter. A dose of humility would do him good.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The advantage of using the C-133 was that it is able to land on most runways. The runways available for the Stratolauncher are very limited.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Nothing new there. If you read the book “Sea of Glory” by Nathaniel Philbrick about the U.S. Navy’s around the world exploring expedition in the 1840’s it shows nothing have changed in Washington. It is how government funded exploration has always worked.

  • ThomasLMatula

    It would be nice if schools did produce that type of citizen, but the really is they don’t and there seems no effort being made to correct it at the national level. I do the best that I am able in teaching my business students the elements of Rhetoric in the management communication classes I teach, and about America’s inventors and innovators in a Business History class, but the K-12 system seems to have other priorities.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Why is this flight any different? It is not government funded, and by the time it actually takes place no one will remember the date it was promised for, as was the case with the FH launch.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    The Antarctic base was and still is to serve geopolitical policy. US policy is to not respect any nation’s claim to Antarctic territory and our occupation of the pole ensured we would occupy most of the international claims made as many are pie shaped centered on the pole. The Arctic exploration was done in support of nuclear command and control and the stationing of runt Minuteman IRBM’s in Greenland.

    Those military plans for off world bases had about as much chance of making it to reality as G HW Bush’s plans to turn NASA into a $20+ billion a year space program in early 90’s dollars. The H1 and F1 engines were developed for heavy lift as as a need was seen for manned recon with live photo analysis done on scene ala Almaz/MOL. They also foresaw the potential of pre-placing missile platforms in orbit, and in the 50’s were still looking at having operators manning switchboards to relay communications. Automation obviously shut this all down.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    SpaceX is not government funded? ????? Please don’t start changing history while it’s being made. Wait about 5 years after it’s played out. I don’t have to provide links to the NASA funding for Falcon, Dragon, and Crew Dragon do I? SpaceX is a efficient and effective investment of public dollars. Were it not for those dollars, that enterprise would have been shutdown in the early 2000’s.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The space community always has its up and downs. I even remember the predictions for the Space Shuttle in the late 1970’s. I also remember the ups of the 1990’s when the DC-X and X-33 were going to make SSTO possible. So do folks like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, which is why, when NASA finally killed off both programs, they took matters into their own hands. BTW I was at the Churchill Club gathering in 2002 when Elon Musk first discussed SpaceX in public and promised to revolutionize space launch within a year or so. It took him a little longer, but he has done that. So it may not common on the strict schedule you want, but progress will be made and the frontier will be conquered by SpaceX, Blue Origin, or by the next generation of entrepreneurs after them, just as earlier innovators conquered earlier frontiers. And the faithful will stay with it because they know that space is the best hope humanity has to build a better future.

    As the saying goes about the western frontier, the ones without dreams never started, the weak turned around or died along the way, but the survivors built a nation from sea to shining sea. Space will be no different and so I am not worried about those advocates who drop out. Sure it is nice to dream of a different world where schedules are always met, but history shows that frontiers are developed by luck, pluck and stubbornness, not PERT Charts, TRL and all the tools NASA uses for planning and micromanagement these days.

  • envy

    One step at a time.

  • envy

    Ok. Why are you complaining about it, though?

  • ThomasLMatula

    The element that always takes the longest to develop for a rocket is the engine. SpaceX already has the engine it needs, the Raptor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7kqFt3nID4

    SpaceX already has the software and sensor systems to do a VTVL for the Falcon 9 to use, and the learning from its string of failures that was used to make it work. And it has the experience of turning rockets around. There is far less technological risk for the BFR, then for the Falcon 1 as a result and SpaceX has a team with over 15 years of experience building rockets, including the very valuable experience that comes when things blowup. That is far more than NASA has, or even the old Space Contractors. That is the competitive advantage that SpaceX has and gives the BFR its credibility as a vehicle.

  • Eric Thiel

    Who will send humans around the moon first? SLS or BFR? Can they make it in 2023?

  • windbourne

    WOW.
    I have not seen such BS here since ‎Gaetano Marano‎ was around here.
    The next FH is scheduled for Jan 1st to launch Arabiasat. That is a paying private customer.

    They redid the dragon to make it safer and it was to go to Mars. NASA fought that idea, but that was only recently that it was taken off the mars landers idea. In addition, until 2 years ago, the GOP CONgress ( basically the GOP house) refused to fully fund SpaceX. So, now that they have funding, they will be launching their first Dragon V2, in December.
    As to taking 12-18 months, well, hard to do that when CONgress is messing with the money and various groups in NASA continue to change the requirements and testing on the fly. As it is, Dragon will likely be the SAFEST human launch vehicle ever built and used.

    Yes, there are multiple cargo vendors and all are needed. All have had issues so supplies were slowed down, but never stopped.

    And while I agree that the barge is MUCH harder to land on than land, the fact is, that SX and BO are the only 2 that have even landed on land, and SX is the only barge lander.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_Heavy_launches#Future_launches

    And yes, goal posts are constantly moved. OTOH, over the next 6 months, SX should be having FH on a decent schedule, AND assuming all goes correctly with Dragon V2, they should have human launch working as well.

    All in all, that means, by mid 2019, they can focus on getting SpaceLink and BFR going.

  • windbourne

    oops. NET 2019-01

  • Arthur Hamilton

    Those so called experts that you talked to aren’t launching commercial missions and trying to bring down the cost of launch, either. Nor do they have a vision of making humanity multiplanetary with millions living on Mars and beyond.
    For the one-off government launches every other month, old space didn’t need reusable boosters. Besides, as long as the gov was willing to pay cost+, why bother, right?

  • windbourne

    interesting link. I had not seen that before.
    thanx.

  • Arthur Hamilton

    He forgets that NASA also built its infrastructure to include all current NASA centers, launch pads, etc during the time from 1958 to 1969, too. They had to start from scratch.

  • envy

    Ben Cooper (launchphotography.com) had it as NET November last week. Looks like he took it down for now. Realistically, it’s December-January. SpaceX has a very busy fall launch schedule coming up.

  • Vladislaw

    oops .. I just saw it .. I was looking at the wrong post.

    Thanks for the heads up .. (thanks terry!)

  • redneck

    I think this might be a visible symptom of a national problem in lower credential employees. Construction workers, truck drivers, and mechanics are in short supply almost everywhere. Many of the people that should be filling these slots are not willing to pay the dues to reach decent pay grades. All too many got a useless (from an employment standpoint) degree with the idea that it was a “get out of hard work” card.

    I suspect SpaceX is experiencing a form of this that is a glaring liability in the eyes of those that play the stat game from afar. 60 hour weeks are not a killing pace to people that are motivated in their careers. .

  • ThomasLMatula

    SpaceX has the government as a customer, but that is not the same as the government funding that the Old Space contractors have. Yes, the government is a major customer in the space market, and SpaceX has profited well from selling to it. but that is far different than the Shuttle/Apollo model where contractors built vehicles for NASA to own and operate. SpaceX owns its Dragons and Falcons, not the U.S. government.

    So far the government has shown no interest in the BFR which is targeted at private markets, like the flight Yusaku Maezawa.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Same with the commercial version of the Dragon. By the time NASA got finished micro-managing it, it was seen to have little value for space tourism or private flights because of it splashing down in the ocean, so he moved on to the BFR.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    You can cut it any way you want. Space X is a socialist entity. Without the public sector, they would not exist. They are not a private independent entity. Without a willing public they would be gone. That will change with the years, but for the past 15 years, and for now, that’s the case. You can pretend all you want otherwise, but the cold hard reality is Elon is a socialist just like business men in Western Europe who get/got their startup cash from a government.

  • Andrew if you think about it, per your definition any and every economic entity that directly or indirectly receives tax-payer dollars for products or services, or benefits from public framework, resources and organization is a socialist entity.

    Agreed though. SpaceX would not have survived as an entity without NASA and the USAF. Bidding and winning development and service contracts for the US government is what enabled the company to survive the Falcon 1 crunch.

  • duheagle

    Quite so. I worked 60+ hours a week for a startup in my early 20’s. Fun times. Too bad it didn’t succeed but them’s the breaks. This neither burned me out nor gave me any aversion to hard work.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    They still have skunkworks project to pursue S2 recovery for F9. Sort of a SpaceX hobby project.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    FH was done at zero price to taxpayer. The FH program was funded completely with SpaceX profits. USAF got a development free heavy lift launch vehicle. And this knuckle head we’re dealing with is complaining about the delay. WTF

  • windbourne

    Vandenberg is right there. DIA and Edwards are in-route. Finally, Kennedy itself.

    Though with that said, I have to wonder if BFS would fit under the carrier. Both are monster crafts, but we still do not know the stratolauncher’s specs.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, it was a huge loss to both South Africa and Canada that they failed to provide the entrepreneurial environment for him to want to stay.

  • ThomasLMatula

    That was only because the 1967 OST prohibited claims of sovereignty. Otherwise they would be up there now.

  • Robert G. Oler

    because they were some of the worse plans made…they had serious serious problems

  • Robert G. Oler

    Thomas you are reaching on this. if the “joints” had snuck up and bit NASA in terms of blow by you might “might” have a complaint…but they knew about the problem(s) and simply failed to fix it. they could have fixed it which they obviously did…that decision making process was the fatal error…not the joints…sorry completely wrong here

  • Robert G. Oler

    I dont agree with him at all

  • Robert G. Oler

    Thomas thats an interesting recitation but…..

    Musk is not the Wright brothers, he is not Glenn Curtiss either. AT best and we will see where this goes …he is at best the “design team’ that put together the Boeing 299, ie the folks at Boeing who in response to the need for a heavy bomber found themselves thinking four engine instead of two. NOw that is a pretty solid feat all on itself…

    Musk, has impressively thought outside the box of the notion (at least on Falcon 9 and FH) of “lift”…and used solid advances in technology to accomplish what he has tried to do…but it is far to early to say that we are no longer fighting with the hyenas in space policy for the scraps of meat

    Musk has not really proved (although I think he will) the cost effectiveness of reusability nor is it clear what the affect on “cost to orbit” is. but so far at least in human flight he is not set to do anything that Boeing is not set to do either.

    and he, like Boeing is struggling to put people in orbit

    before you or I start awarding him the “Wrights of this generation” we need to see where the next few years go.

    and no I dont think that BFR/BFS to the moon is going to happen in 23. but I am willing to wait to see where it goes

  • Robert G. Oler

    frontiers in the US are not opened without the help financial and otherwise of the government

  • Robert G. Oler

    I am curious Tom…assume Musk and “dear moon” or whatever it is is successful. what do you think will have been accomplished and what do you think changes?

    Likewise…if it fizzles in a few years or worse fails. what happens?

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I too am sitting on the fence, but optimistic, about the money savings from from re-use. I wonder if Space X is still in the startup phase where the company exists, functions, and performs for the sake of attracting investment dollars as opposed to closing the loop between investment and money from selling product and services with a bit-o profit when all is done and said.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    How’s that? When our efforts in Antarctica are all about nulling out all other nations’ claim to Antarctic territory while making no claims of our own with the exception of occupation? Here are the current main bullet points for the current policy of the US re Antarctica.

    * The U.S. recognizes no foreign territorial claims.
    * The U.S. reserves the right to participate in any future uses of the region.
    * Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only.
    * There shall be free access for scientific investigation and other peaceful pursuits.

    I don’t know offhand, but I think we (the US) wrote an awful lot of the Antarctic Treaty. The above policy bullets sound a lot like Eisenhower’s diplomacy speaking points. It’s right along the lines of his “Open Skies” initiative and others like it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Andrew I think Musk will or has gotten some savings from reusability…but if you listen to Musk instead of pushing some verifiable claims…he just keeps making “wilder” statements. the “I think a F9 cost can get down to 6 million…” has to be just rhetoric…they dont reuse the 2nd stage and I suspect if it cost a dime, it cost at least 6 million…so the first stage is “free” now

    what Musk is arguing is that he has gone from experimental stages with Rockets to near airplane status in well less than 5 blocks. I dont believe him

  • ThomasLMatula

    The U.S. did write it, and in doing so surrendered the territorial claims of Wilkes, Byrd, and Ellsworth, turning it into a continent for science, to one up the Soviet Union. But the impact on economic development was the same and so the only economic activities you have are the contracts to serve the scientists and adventure tourism. No real lost, but space deserves better.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The key is showing it is possible to explore with private funds. Hopefully it will be followed up with industrial development. Hopefully space industrial start ups will start to emerge. This is why Jeff Bezos has a better vision. He is interested in the economic development of the Earth-Moon system and just sees transportation as a means to the ends. But Elon Musk has focused on just be a transportation firm.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I was referring to the transfer of the F9. BFR will need the barge, it is just too large and heavy to go by air.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, they could have fixed it, but they wouldn’t have had the design constraints in the first place which created it if they had picked a location in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas to build it. You are looking at the secondary problem, but I am referring to the root cause of it. And remember, those special trains added another layer of cost.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yco2S4WG_9Q

    This is the advantage SpaceX has, it doesn’t have to constrain its engineers by zipcode requirements. Really, its no different than NASA needing to use the Super Guppy to ship the Saturn IV-B stage to the Cape for a launch.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yep, and Vice-President, and later President Johnson, make sure to spread the wealth around to build the Congressional support. If you look at where those facilities were placed it was almost always in a district that had a Congressional member with influence in the funding of NASA.

  • ThomasLMatula

    LOL. I think you have been reading too many pro-Trump news websites. 🙂

    https://www.breitbart.com/california/2018/06/17/elon-musk-i-am-a-socialist/

    Elon Musk: ‘I Am a Socialist’

    Government spending accounts for 1/5 of the economy. Its not wise for any business to ignore it. Exxon sells a good portion of their products to the DOD. Does that make them socialist? The Steel firms sell a good portion of their products to make military systems. Does that make the Steel industry socialist?

  • ThomasLMatula

    And the American West would not have been opened as easily if the market for the Army Forts had not existed. Its why cities like Fort Worth and Fort Stockton have fort in their name.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The key is to have an exit strategy to allow free markets to take eventually over. The land grants the Railroads received were used to attract immigrates from Europe.

    https://www.loc.gov/collections/railroad-maps-1828-to-1900/articles-and-essays/history-of-railroads-and-maps/land-grants/

    Comsat is also a good example of this. Sadly, NASA isn’t.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Come on, be honest here. when a government provides venture capital, accepts risk, and the profit is privatized, what do you call that? Good business no doubt if you can get it, but that’s not capitalism.