An opportunity that appears only once in a lifetime: an eccentric Japanese millionaire offers eight slots for people from all over the planet to accompany you on a space tourism trip around the Moon, scheduled for 2023 with the SpaceX.
Yusaku Maezawa, online fashion mogul, collector of contemporary art and patrons, is the first private customer who booked a flight aboard the Starship, the future manned rocket developed by the aerospace company Elon Musk, for a price that has not been revealed.
Initially he hoped to find a friend for his trip around the moon, with a strange contest aimed at “single women over 20”. But the businessman changed his plans after receive 30,000 application and announced that he would invite six or eight artists.
But in a video published on Wednesday, the 45-year-old millionaire announced that he decided on a much broader application process because he is convinced that “every person who does something creative can be called an artist”.
“I invite you to join me on this mission. Eight of you from around the world,” he declared. “I bought all the seats, so it will be a private trip.”
Candidates must meet two criteria: a willingness to “push the limits” of creativity and help other crew members to do the same.
In total, 10 or 12 people will participate in the trip around the moon, explained Maezawa.
The calendar predicts that potential astronauts must submit their applications by March 14 and the first selection will take place a week later.
The dates for the other stages – a “mission and an online meeting – have not been announced, but the final interviews and medical examinations are scheduled for the end of May 2021, according to the millionaire’s website.
Maezawa and his companions will be the first lunar travelers since the last American Apollo mission in 1972, if SpaceX manages to complete this project.
Two prototypes of its Starship rocket crashed when it landed in recent months.
“I am very confident that we will reach the orbital level with the Starship before 2023 and that security will be sufficient for a human flight in 2023. It is very promising,” said Elon Musk in the video released by Maezawa on Wednesday.
SpaceX plans to launch its first space tourism mission for the fourth quarter of 2021, in low Earth orbit.
The mission, named Inspiration4, will take place thanks to the partially reusable launch rocket Falcon 9 and the SpaceX Crew Dragon space vehicle, already used by NASA.
The mission will have the participation of American millionaire Jared Isaacman, who also offered three places at his side. The first chosen, announced at the end of February, is a 29-year-old American woman, recovered from cancer.