Japan fashion guru Maezawa lands first SpaceX moon flight

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On Monday, Mr Musk unveiled new artist impressions of the BFR and the spaceship which will carry passengers around the Moon.

Yusaka Maezawa has purchased every available seat aboard Musk's first BFR rocket that will travel to the moon as early as 2023.

Instead, Musk said, SpaceX would turn its focus to developing the BFR, which he deemed a better option for tourism missions.

Our correspondent, Mary MacCarthy, joins us from Los Angeles. Musk estimated the total BFR system would cost around $5bn to develop, perhaps as much as $10bn and more than $2bn. He said he often mused about what artists like Basquiat or Andy Warhol might have come up with if they'd travelled into space.

The mission will mark the first visit to the Moon by humans since Nasa's Apollo 17 landing in 1972.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced Monday night that entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa would be the first private person to fly aboard its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) launch vehicle.

Whether the bold mission takes place now depends on SpaceX successfully testing the rockets and other equipment in the coming years. He wants his guests "to see the moon up close, and the Earth in full view, and create work to reflect their experience", he says.

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"I wish to create fantastic works of art for humankind", Maezawa said. While the trip to the moon is, in and of itself, a fairly bold undertaking, realistically it's just the first step towards Musk's ultimate goal of being the person that facilitated humanity's move to living on two separate planets.

Musk said the billionaire will pay "a lot of money" for the lunar orbit but he declined to disclose the exact amount.

SpaceX is now prototyping the spaceship and other BFR hardware inside a 20,000-square-foot tent at the Port of Los Angeles - at least until a much bigger permanent facility is completed. Twelve walked on the lunar surface. After launch, the BFR will make several course corrections and complete one loop around the moon before returning to Earth, where it will land upright, in a manoeuvre SpaceX has pioneered with its Falcon 9 rockets.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk outlined a somewhat different mission past year. When you're pushing the frontier, it's not a sure thing.

That design is likely to continue undergoing major shifts well beyond the commencement of integrated Grasshopper-style hop tests of BFR's spaceship upper stage (known as BFS), as flight-testing the rocket's major components will nearly invariably result in design changes, be it major or minor.

"Its not 100 percent certain we can bring this to flight", Musk said of the lunar mission. "Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest, and we expect more to follow".

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