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Although its Falcon Heavy rocket was set to fly in 2013, the first, and only flight, of the heavy lifter happened some five years later, and lobbed Musk's Tesla Roadster into space to puzzle future extraterrestrial visitors.

He said: "In 2023, as the host, I would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join me on this missions to the Moon".

"I wish to create fantastic works of art for humankind", Maezawa said.

"This project is very meaningful - to be the first private passenger on the moon - but I also hope I can contribute to world peace, my lifelong dream", Maezawa said.

While the trip to the moon is, in and of itself, a fairly bold undertaking, realistically it's just the first step towards Musk's ultimate goal of being the person that facilitated humanity's move to living on two separate planets.

The 42-year-old entrepreneur appeared at an event yesterday evening at the space launch company's headquarters of the space launch company near Los Angeles.

Yusaku Maezawa, 42, who runs Japanese clothing shopping site Zozotown, is set to travel on a Big Falcon Rocket spaceship that is now being developed, the USA space company said.

Short-hop testing of the BFR's second stage, nicknamed the Big Falcon Spaceship or BFS, could begin as early as next year.

That now stands to change with BFR and signals a synergy between SpaceX and Maezawa in terms of using the BFR architecture to make space accessible to everyone.

At the time, SpaceX was to have used its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket and the crewed version of the existing Dragon spacecraft. "And it sounds insane but everything we've ever done has sounded insane to people, both people that love us and people that don't like us so much".

Whether or not SpaceX will fly an uncrewed BFR on a lunar free return trajectory mission - flying the exact profile it will with Maezawa and his passengers - before Maezawa's mission has not yet been determined.

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behaviour and the struggles of his Tesla electric vehicle company to deliver. It aims to launch its first crewed mission to the space station in the second quarter of 2019. He showed off images of the hardware under construction and a test fire of the vehicle's massive Raptor engine.

The high cost of the trip - estimated at around $150m (£120m) - means the person is also presumably a billionaire.

In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company now valued at over $20 billion.

In moves typical of his publicity-seeking style, Musk, who is also the billionaire chief executive of electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc, had previously teased a few tantalising details about the trip and the passenger's identity, but left major questions unanswered. Blue Origin's price has not been revealed.


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