Image Source: Yusaku Maezawa
Japanese entrepreneur, Yusaku Maezawa, founder of Japan’s largest online clothing retailer named Zozotown, will be the first private customer to fly towards the Moon aboard Starship, SpaceX's future rocket-ship duo. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, introduced him at an unveiling event a couple of years ago. Maezawa sold a large portion of his online fashion retailer shop to SoftBank Group Corp. in order to pay for the Moon venture and train like an astronaut.
SpaceX has not made public how much he paid for it. Musk has mentioned on several occasions he feels thankful Maezawa is funding Starship's development because the payment Maezawa made for the space tour was significant enough that it will "have a material effect on paying for cost and development of Starship," Musk said, "He's paying a lot of money that would help with the ship and its booster. [...] He's ultimately paying for the average citizen to travel to other planets."
SpaceX is actively working on the development of Starship at their facility located in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville, Texas. They are also building a launch pad at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida's space coast.
Photo: The distance between Earth and the Moon. Captured by NASA’s OSIRIS-REX spacecraft.
The space tour would last approximately one week. Starship will not land on the lunar surface though, instead the craft will fly on a circumlunar trajectory (around the moon) travelling 238,900 miles away from Earth.
The trip is planned for the year 2023.
When they introduced the project a couple of years ago, Maezawa said he would invite 8 artists from around the world to go on this Moon mission. Upon returning to Earth, these artists would be asked to create something according to their talent to "inspire the dreamer within all of us." The art project is called "dearMoon." He has not made public what artists will receive an invite.
Maezawa recently split up from actress girlfriend Ayame Goriki, today he announced he is now also searching for the first woman in history to go on a journey around the Moon - but he does not just want anyone to join him on this space voyage - he is searching for a romantic 'life partner.'
He shared a link to an application where it says he seeks a woman above 20 years old that could become his romantic partner to join him on a voyage around the moon. This will be transformed into a new reality show/documentary hybrid that will be about Maezawa's search for love and the Moon voyage itself. This show will be shown on streaming service AbemaTV.
In the show's application website he writes that he was overcome by "embarrassment and pride" when he was offered by AbemaTV to do the program and considered refusing. Then, he changed his mind when he realized that a chance like this "might not come again." The show will be titled "Full Moon Lovers." Maezawa said:
"As feelings of loneliness and emptiness slowly begin to surge upon me, there’s one thing that I think about: continuing to love one woman. [...] I want to find a 'life partner.' With that future partner of mine, I want to shout our love and world peace from outer space."
The application period to be Maezawa’s girlfriend and go on his adventure around the moon closes in a couple of days on January 17. He will choose who will be his 'life partner' by the end of March... that is a time-lapse of only 2 months... Good luck to him!
Regardless of how crazy this concept sounds, the Moon voyage will be an exciting adventure to watch!