Japanese Billionaire Picks Crew Including Artists For SpaceX's Flight To The Moon

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Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa has selected ten crewmembers, comprising artists, content creators, and athletes, to fly with him on SpaceX's Starship around the Moon on the dearMoon mission.

SpaceX's first private lunar flight with dearMoon crew, including two backups, is planned to take place in 2023.

Maezawa announced the crew for the mission in a YouTube video and a tweet.

The crew includes DJ Steve Aoki from USA, K-pop star T.O.P of boy band Big Bang, American YouTuber Tim Dodd, Indian television actor Dev Joshi, Czech Republic's multi-disciplinary creative Yemi A.D., and Ireland's photographic artist Rhiannon Adam, among others.

Meanwhile, SpaceX in a statement said the dearMoon crew will be the first humans Starship will launch, fly around the Moon, and safely return to Earth. The crew will also travel within 200 km of the lunar surface over the course of their weeklong journey.

Maezawa had purchased all the seats aboard the rocket back in 2018, and opted to choose as many talented individuals as possible to take with him. In March 2021, he announced plans to choose 8 crew members from across the world.

According to SpaceX, the crew was selected from more than one million people in 249 countries and regions around the world, who applied to fly on Starship.

SpaceX said, "This flight is an important step toward enabling access for people who dream of traveling to space. In sharing their experiences flying around the Moon, this crew will inspire everyone back home on Earth, and we look forward to flying them."

SpaceX's Starship moon mission is part of its long-term goal to advance human spaceflight and help make life multiplanetary.

SpaceX was selected by NASA, as part of NASA's Artemis III mission, to develop a lunar lander capable of carrying astronauts between lunar orbit and the surface of the Moon. The Artemis III mission marks humanity's first return to the Moon since the Apollo program's final mission in 1972.

In mid November, NASA modified its contract with SpaceX to further develop the Starship human landing system, noting that sustaining long-term human exploration on the Moon will require the safe and affordable transportation of crew and significant amounts of cargo.

SpaceX will now support a second human landing demonstration as part of NASA's Artemis IV mission.

On October 12, SpaceX had announced that Dennis and Akiko Tito are the first two crewmembers on Starship's second commercial spaceflight around the Moon, which is expected to launch after the Polaris Program's first flight of Starship and dearMoon.

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