It’s the kind of opportunity that comes only once: Eccentric Japanese billionaire offers eight tickets to people around the world to accompany him on a space tourism trip around the moon, slated for 2023 with SpaceX .
Yusaku Maezawa, online fashion mogul, contemporary art collector and patron, was the first private client to book a flight aboard a lunar rocket developed by the aerospace company Elon Musk, for an amount not disclosed.
He had initially declared that he wanted to invite six to eight artists to accompany him on this journey.
But on Wednesday, in a video posted to his Twitter account, the 45-year-old billionaire announced a broader application process. “I invite you to join me on this mission. Eight of you from all over the world,” he said. “I bought all the seats so it will be a private trip.”
He explained that his original plan to invite artists had “evolved” as he became convinced that “every person who does something creative can be called an artist”.
Applicants will only need to meet two criteria, he said: be willing to “push the limits” of creativity and be willing to help other crew members do the same.
Final interviews at the end of May
In all, about 10 to 12 people are expected to participate in the expedition supposed to circle the moon before returning to Earth, Maezawa said.
The application schedule calls for aspiring astronauts to pre-register by March 14. No deadline is given for the next steps – a “mission” and an online discussion – but final interviews and medical examinations are currently scheduled for late May 2021, according to the billionaire’s website.
Mr. Maezawa and his companions will become the first lunar travelers since the last American Apollo mission in 1972, at least if SpaceX is able to bring this project to fruition.
Last month, the US company announced that it plans to launch its first space tourism mission for the fourth quarter of 2021. The mission, named Inspiration4, will be carried out using SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 space launcher. It will host the American billionaire Jared Isaacman, who also offered three seats at his side. Her first elected, announced at the end of February, is a 29-year-old American survivor of pediatric cancer.