SpaceX Get its First Lunar Rover Passenger; Yusaku Maezawa
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Elon Musk’s space venture has found its first passenger for the planned 2023 lunar round trip. Yusaku Maezawa, 42, is the founder of Start Today Co., a Japanese online retailer. His net worth is valued around $2.3 billion, and he intends to invite up to 8 artists to accompany him on this voyage.
This announcement comes after the announcement that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has signed up Japanese Ispace for two commercial trips to the moon. The first trip planned for 2020 is to carry a lunar lander in orbit around the moon to test for a full lunar landing. The second trip is set for 2021 and will land the lander on the moon.
Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of Ispace told the media that “We share the vision with SpaceX of enabling humans to live in space, so we’re very glad they will join us in this first step of our journey.”
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is performing extremely well and has undertaken sixteen successful return launches and missions so far. This comes in contrast to his rollercoaster ride with his EV venture Tesla Inc.
Ispace raised nearly $95 million from investors that included KDDI Corp and Suzuki Motor Corp. all aimed to initiate a commercial moon ferry that will send cargo and explorers to the moon. Their intention is to search for water and create the infrastructure for a lunar colony.
Another commercial lunar agency is Israel’s SpaceIL, a company backed by the Israel Space Agency and funded by casino magnate and billionaire Sheldon Edelson. SpaceIL intends to join in one of the SpaceX planned missions this coming December.