SpaceX will take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the Moon

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SpaceX will take a Japanese billionaire on a trip around the Moon

SpaceX has announced a new plan to launch a tourist around the Moon using its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a massive launch vehicle that is being created to carry people into deep space.

The 42-year-old entrepreneur appeared at an event Monday evening at the space launch company's headquarters of the space launch company near Los Angeles. Expected payload: one man who, according to this cryptic tweet from Musk himself, is not Elon Musk and may be Japanese.

The as-of-yet-unnamed patron will be paying a huge price for the privilege of traveling around the Moon, and SpaceX has a huge job ahead of it to actually make the trip happen.

The lunar voyager will be launched into space aboard SpaceX's new Big Falcon Rocket system.

This is not the first time the California-based company, headed by Internet entrepreneur and Tesla electric auto CEO Elon Musk, has touted plans to send tourists around the Moon. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond.

In terms of when the launch will take place, things are also in the dark.

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".

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.

SpaceX in February transfixed a global audience with the successful test launch of its Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

A Mars trip could take 3 to 6 months, including several fuel-ups.

Whatever the details, SpaceX is touting an experience considerably more ambitious than space tourism plans under development by other private companies.

Two high executives announced departures from Tesla, and the diver sued Musk on Monday.

Next year, SpaceX - which has received billions in NASA funding to ferry supplies to the ISS and build a crew vehicle - hopes to become the first private company to send astronauts to the space station.

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