Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced Tuesday that he would be selecting eight members of the public for a trip around the moon set to fly on the SpaceX Starship rocket in 2023.
“I invite you to join me on this mission,” Maezawa said in a video.
Maezawa, who announced the mission in September 2018 along with SpaceX founder Elon Musk, said the plan evolved from flying artists on a trip into lunar orbit.
His “DearMoon” project will now fly “10 to 12 people total” with eight of the crew members coming from members of the public that Maezawa wishes to select.
The billionaire says he will “pay for the entire trip” so that those who join him can fly for free. Maezawa made his fortune starting fashion retailer Zozotown, which he resigned from in 2019 after selling a majority stake in SoftBank.
The DearMoon mission will take three days to fly to the moon, spin in orbit behind it, and then spend three days returning. Musk added that the missile’s trajectory, in addition to its historic premiere as a private lunar mission, means that it will go beyond the distance traveled by the Apollo missions.
“We assume that this mission will go further than any human from planet earth has ever been before,” said Musk.
SpaceX has not yet announced how much it has spent on the Starship program to date, but Musk previously estimated that the company is expected to cost about $ 5 billion to complete.
In particular, SpaceX’s valuation has soared since Maezawa’s original announcement from about $ 25 billion at that time to about $ 74 billion last month.