Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who will be SpaceX's first space tourist, is seeking eight companions for a joint flight to the Moon on SpaceX's Starship spacecraft. He announced the news in a video message on his Twitter page:
“It will be 10 to 12 people in all, but I will be inviting 8 people to come along on the ride,” Maezawa said.
Yusaku Maezawa said that the first tourist flight to the Moon as part of the dearMoon mission would take place in two years, in 2023. A total of 10 or 12 people will take part in the mission, eight of whom will be personally invited by the businessman.
Maezawa will pay for the entire journey, and it will be a private ride. The flight to the Moon aboard Elon Musk's Starship will take up to six days. Tourists will reach the Moon in three days, fly around it, and return to Earth in another three days.
Earlier, Maezawa said that he planned to bring representatives of various creative professions to space with him. But now there are only two requirements for candidates of the dearMoon mission: Maezawa is looking for candidates who “can push its envelope to help other people and greater society in some way” and are “willing to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.”
Maezawa is a 45-year-old billionaire. He founded Japan's largest online fashion retailer, Zozotown. In September 2019, the entrepreneur decided to sell most of his stake to Yahoo Japan in a $3.7 billion deal. Maezawa is ranked 23rd in the global Forbes ranking, and his fortune is estimated at $2 billion.
The head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, announced that Maezawa would be the first tourist to fly to the Moon back in 2018. In 2020, the billionaire announced that he was looking for a “female partner” for a joint space trip, and announced a competition. Maezawa said that the applicant should be a single woman aged 20 and older who is interested in space flights and can participate in preparations for them. Almost 30 thousand women applied for participation. But less than a month later, the billionaire turned down the show for personal reasons.