SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses the latest version of his vision for the BFR rocket. (SpaceX via YouTube)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk today introduced Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first paying customer for a trip around the moon’
“Finally I can tell you that ‘I choose to go to the moon,'” Maezawa said, echoing President John F. Kennedy’s famous phrase.
The announcement at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., followed days of speculation over the identity of the first passenger — and months of chatter about the capabilities of the BFR, an acronym for “Big Falcon Rocket” in its G-rated interpretation.
Musk laid out his first design for the mammoth two-stage BFR in 2016 at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, and refined it for the 2017 IAC meeting in Australia. The BFR’s principal purpose is to carry settlers and their stuff to Mars, 100 passengers at a time.
Last year, Musk said the BFR could be used for trips to the moon and other celestial destinations, as well as for suborbital point-to-point trips on Earth.
Short-hop testing of the BFR’s second stage, nicknamed the Big Falcon Spaceship or BFS, could begin as early as next year. Those tests will ...