Elon Musk Reveals First SpaceX Passenger for Trip Around the Moon

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The announcement was made at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday.

The flight would have used the company's Falcon Heavy rocket and Dragon crew capsule, taking the pair on a loop around the moon before returning home.

"Finally I can tell you that 'I choose to go to the moon, '" Maezawa said, echoing President John F. Kennedy's famous phrase.

Maezawa will be the first person to travel into lunar orbit since the last Apollo mission in 1972.

Aerospace experts who follow Musk and SpaceX's activities suggest that there could likely be more iterations of the BFR design before the company's first lunar voyage lifts off the launch pad.

"Why do I want to go to the moon?"

SpaceX now has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to supply the astronauts living at the ISS, via regular cargo trips on its Dragon spaceship, launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

The identity of the passenger has been a mystery, but Elon Musk's rocket company will reveal the spacefarer's identity via livestream Monday evening, scheduled for 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET/2 a.m. Tuesday GMT/11 a.m. Tuesday AEST).

SpaceX founder Elon Musk says Maezawa will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development.

The first BFR is now being built in a purpose-built warehouse in Florida.

What is the timeline for the SpaceX mission?

During Monday night's announcement, Musk said the whole objective of SpaceX is to "help advance rocket technology to the point where we could potentially become a multi-planet species", and to "extend life beyond Earth and do so as quickly as we can". The Moon-bound spacecraft will consist of two parts: a 191-foot rocket booster and a 157-foot spaceship. But it looks like that lull may be coming to an end thanks to the efforts of SpaceX and its Big Falcon Rocket-the same rocket it hopes will one day carry people to Mars. It aims to launch its first crewed mission to the space station in the second quarter of 2019.

SpaceX gave no details of the flight but said it would be "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

The spaceship that Maezawa and his team of artists will be boarding will start making short test flights next year.

Musk cautioned at the news conference that SpaceX is not certain about the 2023 timing for the moon tourism mission.

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