Watch SpaceX reveal BFR mystery moon passenger

SpaceX gets first private passenger for moon trip

Former punk-band drummer Maezawa will join the 24 other astronauts who have flown beyond Earth's protective magnetic field, in missions between 1968 and 1972.

Maezawa said at the company's headquarters and rocket factory on the outskirts of Los Angeles after a highly anticipated introduction by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

Mr Maezawa came to SpaceX with the idea for the group flight, Mr Musk said.

In a statement, Maezawa continued: "If Pablo Picasso had been able to see the Moon up close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn?"

Maezawa added that he won't be travelling alone as he'll be bring artists along with him. He said he has bought all the available seats for the BFR lunar mission and plans to invite other artists from around the world for the trip. The goal of Maezawa's project is for the artists to be inspired by the journey and create art about it when they go back to Earth.

Mr Maezawa did not immediately say who will be on his guest list for the spaceflight, but in response to a question from a reporter he said he would consider inviting Mr Musk. The original plan called for two paying passengers to fly around the moon this year, using a Falcon Heavy rocket and a Dragon crew capsule. "Usually there are many setbacks and issues", Musk said.

China tariffs: What's behind them, who stands to be hurt?
China had in August said it would retaliate with $US60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods, but has since gone quiet on the threat. Until now the president argued he was using tariffs as a tool to force USA trading partners to the negotiating table.

The SLS is an advanced, heavy-lift rocket that will provide an entirely new capability for science and human exploration beyond Earth's orbit.

The space company has already started serious development of the BFR. SpaceX is still working hard at getting its Big Falcon Rocket ready for its first test launches, and the company will need to put its launch systems through their paces well in advance of taking passengers anywhere.

"Maybe we'll both be on it", Musk said with a smile. Vice President Mike Pence has advocated a return to the moon, telling the National Space Council in October that it could serve as a steppingstone to Mars. Musk said when Business Insider asked about the interior design. Following those demonstrations, the Crew Dragon is expected to be used to carry two more NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Aside from a handful of millionaires and billionaires hitching rides on Russian Soyuz rockets, space tourism has remained in an embryonic state since Dennis Tito became the first paying astronaut in 2001.

Space live-streamed the news after teasing the announcement few days ago and calling it "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space".

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