Friday , April 16 2021

Japanese millionaire seeks crew to orbit the moon | World | DW

An eccentric Japanese billionaire started this Wednesday (03.03.2021) in search of eight people willing to join him as the first private passenger around the Moon planned for 2023 with the company SpaceX.

Yusaku Maezawa, online fashion mogul, contemporary art collector and boss, was the first private customer to book a flight on the future habitable rocket Starship developed by Elon Musk’s aerospace company.

He initially hopes to find a friend for his travel around the Moon through a strange competition targeting “single women over 20”. However, he later changed his plans after receiving 30,000 submissions and announced that he would invite six or eight artists.

But in a video released Wednesday, the 45-year-old millionaire eventually opted for a much broader nomination process because he believes “anyone who does something creative can be called an artist.”

I bought all the seats

“I invite you to join me on this mission. Eight people from all over the world,” he declared. “I bought all the seats, so it’s going to be a private ride.”

Yusaku Maezawa

Yusaku Maezawa.

Candidates will need to meet only two criteria: a willingness to “push the limits” of creativity and help other crew members do the same.

In total, about 10 or 12 people will participate in the expedition, which aims to circumnavigate the moon, Maezawa said.

The calendar predicts that potential astronauts will register before March 14 and the first election will take place a week later.

According to the millionaire’s website, the date for the next phases has not been announced – a mission and an online meeting – but final interviews and medical examinations will take place at the end of May 2021, according to the millionaire’s website.

First lunar mission since 1972

If SpaceX manages to bring this project to life, Maezawa and his friends will be the first lunar passengers since the last American Apollo mission in 1972. And in recent months, two prototypes of the Starship rocket crashed during landing.

Elon Musk said in the video released on Wednesday, “I am very confident that with Starship we will reach orbit level before 2023 and that safety will be sufficient for a human flight in 2023. This is very promising.”

SpecaceX predicts that the first space tourism mission will be launched in low Earth orbit for the fourth quarter of 2021.

This mission, called Inspiration4, will be carried out thanks to the reusable Falcon 9 spacecraft and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft already used by NASA. The mission will be joined by American millionaire Jared Isaacman, who has also offered three places with him. The first, announced at the end of February, is a 29-year-old American survivor of pediatric cancer.

jc (afp, reuters)

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