SpaceX reveals mystery moon passenger, and he's a billionaire

Gwen Vasquez
September 18, 2018

The Big Falcon Rocket boasts 31 Raptor engines with seven honeycomb arranged engines. However, Musk said that rocket would not be certified to carry people, which ruled out a round-the-moon trip on a Falcon Heavy.

In an interview in March, Musk said the ship was now being built, adding "I think we'll probably be able to do short flights, short sort of up-and-down flights, probably sometime in the first half of next year".

Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa declared "I choose to go the the Moon" after being introduced by SpaceX's chief executive Elon Musk at the company's headquarters in California.

But in February this year, Mr Musk said SpaceX would concentrate on the BFR for future crewed missions.

SpaceX said a year ago that it planned to send two private citizens around the moon in a Dragon crew capsule to be launched by a Falcon Heavy rocket. "We better get that flight right".

Its plan to fly tourists around the moon has also been delayed.

SpaceX will reveal the identity of the passenger on Monday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. PT via webcast. If all had gone according to schedule, SpaceX would now be gearing up for its first lunar flight, fulfilling its pledge early past year to launch a pair of tourists "faster and farther into the solar system than any before them".

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Musk previously hinted the passenger for the next-generation BFR (politely known as the Big Falcon Rocket) might be Japanese.

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

SpaceX has had a string of successful rocket launches, but that has been overshadowed by the struggles of Musk's Tesla electric auto company to deliver and his behavior.

In 2017, Mr Musk announced that he would be sending two paying passengers on a loop around the Moon - which was to have launched as early as this year. It also has a massive backlog of commercial launch contracts.

The BFR will be constructed at a SpaceX facility in Los Angeles and is being created to handle everything from missions to Earth orbit to long-term cargo and crew missions to Mars.

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

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon. "That you can go".

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