SpaceX close to announcing 1st private moon flight passenger

Cost of the trip

Cost of the trip

While he might not be a household name in the West, he is famous in his own country as the founder of the Amazon-like shopping portal Zozotown, Japan's largest online retailer. It became the first private company to launch a spacecraft into orbit and safely return it to Earth in 2010, and the first commercial enterprise to fly to the space station in 2012 on a supply mission. He has accused, without proof, one of the cave divers who participated in the rescue of a Thai youth football team of being a paedophile.

He continued: "Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon ... just staring at the moon filled my imagination ... it's continued to inspire humanity, and that's why I could not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close".

It's finally starting to feel a little more real as Musk announced the company's first paying passenger on Monday. Two years later would mark the last time NASA astronauts would visit the lunar surface. Musk said houses equipped with Tesla's Solar Roof would feed energy to Powerwall, a sleek storage unit created to act as an electricity fill-up station for both the house and a Tesla electric auto.

Those who have signed up to fly on Virgin Galactic sub-orbital missions include actor Leonardo DiCaprio and pop star Justin Bieber.

By comparison, the Falcon Heavy is 70m tall and consists of a central rocket core surrounded by two boosters, each with a diameter of 3.66m.

The price for a SpaceX lunar mission is likely hefty, though Musk pointed out, "It's going to be free for the artists".

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon.

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He had said that the trip would happen this year and would not involve a landing, but rather a long loop around the moon.

SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

But newrenderings Musk shared this morning hint at significant design changes.

Musk has said he wants the BFR's vessel to be able to hold around 100 people, and that the launch system could one day be used to colonize the Moon and Mars in order to make humans a "multi-planetary" species.

If you were dreaming of being the first private citizen in space. you've been beaten to it. "Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest, and we expect more to follow".

Besides running SpaceX and Tesla, Musk has also invested in the solar energy company SolarCity to turn his vision of a solar-powered future into a reality. SpaceX hasn't yet launched any humans into space, though it has spent years working toward that goal.

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