Yusaku Maezawa seeks eight companions for SpaceX trip to moon

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The Japanese billionaire who’s signed up for the first private flight to the moon wants eight strangers to join him on the landmark voyage.

Yusaku Maezawa put out an open call Tuesday for members of the public interested in boarding the SpaceX rocket that will loop around the moon in 2023.

The 45-year-old e-commerce magnate says he’s looking for companions from “all kinds of backgrounds” to participate in his “dearMoon” mission, which SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said will be the first commercial space flight to ferry humans beyond Earth’s orbit.

“Are you satisfied with what you’re doing right now? By going to space could you do something that’s even better, even bigger? If that sounds like you, please join me,” Maezawa said in a video detailing his plans.

The eight lucky passengers will be among a crew of 10 to 12 people on the six-day journey aboard the SpaceX Starship, the reusable rocket that the company is still putting through tests, according to Maezawa, who said he’ll cover the costs of the entire trip.

Elon Musk and Yusaku Maezawa speaking on Sept. 17, 2018 during the announcement that Maezawa will be the first private passenger who will fly around the Moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle.
Elon Musk and Yusaku Maezawa speaking on Sept. 17, 2018 during the announcement that Maezawa will be the first private passenger who will fly around the Moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle.
DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images

Prospective astronauts will have to go through an extensive application process that’s expected to start later this month and wrap up in late May. It includes an initial screening, an assignment, two rounds of interviews and a medical checkup, according to the dearMoon website.

SpaceX is still fine-tuning its Starship rocket — two of its recent prototypes exploded when they tried to land in test runs. But Musk said he is “highly confident” the spacecraft will reach orbit “many times” and be safe for human transport by 2023.

SpaceX's BFR launch vehicle is seen in this handout image provided September 14, 2018.
SpaceX’s BFR launch vehicle is seen in this handout image provided Sept. 14, 2018.
SpaceX/Handout via REUTERS

“This mission we expect people will go further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth,” Musk said in Maezawa’s video. “So I think this will be very exciting for people to tune in and watch this and enjoy it vicariously.”

Maezawa made his $2 billion fortune as the founder of Zozotown, which calls itself Japan’s largest online fashion store.

He first revealed in 2018 that he would be the first passenger to fly out of Earth’s atmosphere on a SpaceX rocket. He announced plans last year to find a girlfriend to join him and series a TV series about the trip called “Full Moon Lovers,” but called off the project weeks later after receiving more than 27,000 applications.

Maezawa made his $2 billion fortune as the founder of Zozotown, which calls itself Japan’s largest online fashion store.
Maezawa made his $2 billion fortune as the founder of Zozotown, which calls itself Japan’s largest online fashion store.
TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images

Maezawa said he previously wanted to bring artists on the trip, but that idea “evolved” as he considered who could fall into that broad category.

“The more I thought about it, the more ambiguous it became,” he said in the video. “And I began to think that maybe every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist.”

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