SpaceX Plans Civilian Flight Around Moon for Billionaire

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The latest blueprints mark the final major redesign of the rocket, whose development is expected to cost roughly $5 billion, according to Musk.

He called Maezawa "brave" and "an adventurer". In a recent episode of This American Life, he said he was entirely unmoved by the concept of space travel, the idea of traveling to the moon, and what those of us on Earth might think of as the beauty of space. "This is not walk in the park here".

"When you are pushing the frontier, it is not a sure thing. We better get that flight right".

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behavior and the struggles of his Tesla electric auto company to deliver. He has accused, without proof, one of the cave divers who participated in the rescue of a Thai youth soccer team of being a pedophile.

Two high-level executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Musk on Monday. The U.S. military branch last week downplayed media reports that it was looking into Musk's marijuana use on a livestreamed podcast earlier this month, saying they were inaccurate and that it was determining the facts.

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The head of the company SpaceX Elon Musk presented the first tourists that will be sent on a journey around the moon.

The billionaire chief executive of electric auto maker Tesla Inc, Musk said the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR, the super heavy-lift launch vehicle that he promises will shuttle passengers to the moon and eventually fly humans and cargo to Mars, could be conducting its first orbital flights in two to three years. SpaceX's other major venture thus far, the Falcon Heavy, which is a reusable heavy lift launch vehicle, took almost twice as long to complete than expected.

Musk described the first two tests as happening within two to three years, according to the Washington Post, and Maezawa's launch date as sometime in 2023.

SpaceX investor and private astronaut, Richard Garriott, who spent 11 days visiting the International Space Station, in 2008, said those who were aboard the spacecraft would experience the "overview effect" - a profound shift in perspective when seeing Earth from space. The company's Space Dragon crew capsule, which is meant to take astronauts to the International Space Station, missed an initial target date of 2017 and won't see a manned test until 2019. The rocket won't land on the surface of the moon, but will instead orbit around it.

Setbacks and delays, however, don't deter Musk or his relentless company, which has grown to 7,000 employees.

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When asked about Boeing Co CEO Dennis Muilenburg's prediction that the first humans will be carried to Mars on a Boeing rocket, Musk responded, "Game on", to the sound of cheers from employees assembled at the event. It has disrupted the launch market, winning not just billions in NASA contracts but also contracts from the Pentagon. The company has grown from its origins as a mail-order music album business, and now makes most of its money through its shopping website Zozotown, which is popular with younger domestic consumers.

"All of that noise in the background, that is the sound of wonderful things happening", NASA astronaut Victor Glover said.

Maezawa says the planned trip to space is a way "to inspire the dreamer in all of us".

For his part, he has admitted that much of what he hopes to achieve in space is aspirational. As the Times noted, the Falcon Heavy has undergone only one live test and SpaceX no longer plans to certify it for human flight.

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