Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk floated the possibility Monday night of joining a Japanese billionaire as the man prepares to orbit the moon on one of the SpaceX CEO’s rockets.
Musk unveiled online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger the company plans to fly around the moon. Maezawa will have to wait until 2023 to take flight, though Musk attempted to temper expectations at a press conference announcing the plan.
The Tesla CEO did hint at the possibility that he might join Maezawa. “As far as me going, I’m not sure,” Musk said at the meeting. Maezawa “did suggest that maybe I would join on this trip … maybe we’ll both be on it,” he added.
SpaceX said the flight on board the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) represents “an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space.” The U.S. has not launched a mission to the moon in several decades. (RELATED: SpaceX Launches The World’s Most Powerful Rocket Into Deep Space)
Maezawa will not land on the moon — NASA’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972 marked the last time humans landed on the moon. He will travel on what is called a “free return trajectory,” which will bring his BFR ship back to Earth after it has gone around the far side of the satellite.
SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket in February. One of Musk’s prized possessions — a Tesla Roadster — was on board. The car “will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent,” Musk tweeted in December.
The rocket has three engine cores with 27 Merlin engines, capable of lifting 5 million pounds into orbit.
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