SpaceX Announced First Moon Tourist
20 September 2018
SpaceX's first moon tourist was announced for a trip around the moon aboard its next-generation BFR Rocket. The US company, SpaceX, has said Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire is its first customer.
The 42-year-old online retailer said it has been his lifelong dream to go to space. Mr. Maezawa bought all the seats on the flight for an undisclosed sum.
Maezawa is a musician, fashion designer, entrepreneur, and art collector who believes that art has the power to bring world peace. That’s why, in a twist, he won’t be going to the moon alone: Maezawa plans to invite between six and eight artists to accompany him on the week-long journey, which SpaceX is tentatively scheduling for 2023.
“I want to share these experiences and things with as many people as possible. That is why I choose to go to the moon with artists!” Maezawa says. “There are so many artists with us today that I wish would create amazing works of art for humankind, for children of the next generation. And I wish very much that such artists could go to space, see the moon up close, and the Earth in full view, and create works that reflect their experience.”
The ticket price is undisclosed, but Musk says it would cover a "material percentage" of the estimated $5 billion necessary to build and develop the rocket.
The payload capacity to Earth orbit of at least 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) makes BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
With a first-stage booster that’s roughly 200 feet tall, 30 feet across, and with dozens of Raptor engines beneath it, the BFR would be legitimately quite large. It could send 150 tons into Earth’s orbit and thrust its partner spaceships (capable of carrying a hundred people) toward the smaller, redder planet next door.
Flight tests at the subsystem level of BFR is expected to begin with short suborbital hops of the full-scale ship, likely to be just a few hundred kilometers altitude and lateral distance. In March 2018, Musk stated that "construction of the first prototype spaceship is in progress" and that initial suborbital test flights were possible as early as 2019.
Hops of the upper stage spaceship (BFS) might be conducted from the SpaceX South Texas Launch Site that is currently under construction near Brownsville, Texas, or from drone ship to drone ship.
The BFR launch vehicle is designed to replace the existing SpaceX vehicles and spacecraft: Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, and the Dragon capsule. SpaceX estimates that BFR launches will be cheaper than the existing fleet, and even cheaper than the retired Falcon 1, due to full reusability and precision landing of the booster on its launch mount for simplified launch logistics. SpaceX intends to fully replace its vehicle fleet with BFRs during the early 2020s.
BFR is planned to execute five diverse flight use cases:
- legacy Earth-orbit satellite delivery market
- long-duration spaceflights in the cislunar region
- Mars transportation, both as cargo ships as well as passenger-carrying transport
- long-duration flights to the outer planets, for cargo and astronauts commercial passenger travel on Earth, competing with long-range aircraft
- Musk and Shotwell have touted the ability of BFR to carry passengers on suborbital flights between any two points on Earth in under one hour.
REFERENCES: SpaceX, Wikipedia
|Written by: Charlie Fischer|