Slide 1 of 31
SpaceX's private moon trip on the BFRThe private spaceflight company SpaceX aims to launch the first private mission around the moon in 2023 using its Big Falcon Rocket, with the historic flight being paid for by a Japanese billionaire with a lofty vision for space and art. Not since NASA's Apollo 17 mission, in December 1972, have humans visited the moon, so if SpaceX's flight sticks to its schedule, it could make history and beat NASA's own project to return astronauts to cislunar space.
See how SpaceX's Lunar BFR Mission, as it is called, will work here.
FIRST STOP: The passenger
The passengerSlide 2 of 31
The passengerThe Japanese billionaire backing SpaceX's first private moon launch is none other than Yusaku Maezawa, a former rock-band drummer and the founder of the Japanese online retailer Zozotown.
Maezawa has had a soft spot for the moon since his youth. "Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon." But he also loves art and fashion and has spent millions on his personal art collection.
When SpaceX unveiled Maezawa as the moon flight's passenger, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the Japanese billionaire was also one of two people who signed on to fly around the moon on a Dragon spacecraft under a previous Falcon Heavy plan by SpaceX. The company has since scrapped that project in favor of the Lunar BFR Mission.
NEXT: The spacecraftSlide 3 of 31
The new BFR spacecraftSlide 4 of 31
The new BFR spacecraftMaezawa will launch on yet another updated version of SpaceX's BFR rocket and spacecraft.
Musk first unveiled SpaceX's fully reusable BFR spacecraft in 2016 (when it was still called the Interplanetary Transport System) and then refined the design in 2017.
This final design is larger than the 2017 version and will stand 387 feet (118 meters) tall when fully assembled. It will be capable of flying up to 100 people and 100 tons (90 metric tons) of payload into space, Musk has said.
NEXT: The crewed shipSlide 5 of 31
The crewed shipSlide 6 of 31
The crewed shipMaezawa did not disclose how much he is paying for SpaceX's moon trip, but he did say he has purchased the entire flight. Musk said Maezawa has placed a "substantial" down payment and that the total cost represented a meaningful percentage of the total BFR development cost (which Musk estimated at about $5 billion). In 2017, Musk said the BFR crewed ship would have 40 staterooms for passengers, so that's a lot of space for just Maezawa.
Luckily, he's not planning on going alone.
NEXT: "I choose to go to the moon with artists"Slide 7 of 31
Going to the moon with artistsSlide 8 of 31