Elon Musk names Japanese billionaire for around-the-moon space trip

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SpaceX has already upended the space industry with its relatively low-priced reusable Falcon 9 rockets.

But the name of the passenger wasn't announced until Monday night, during a webcast announcement from SpaceX's Hawthorne facility.

"That is the intent of BFR, to make people excited about the future", said Musk, referring to the yet-to-be-built spaceship. "I choose to invite artists from all around the world on my journey", he said.

"This is risky. This is not a walk in the park", Elon Musk warned at a crowded press conference at the rocket maker's headquarters near Los Angeles International Airport.

He will be the first person to travel to the moon since the United States' Apollo missions ended in 1972. While the spacecraft has yet to be fully developed or flight tested, the company says the next generation BFR "will be the most powerful rocket in history", able to "carry humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond".

In February 2017, SpaceX announced that two "private citizens" had "paid a significant deposit" for a trip around the moon.

The SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, company founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

However, what's even more exciting is that Maezawa will be taking a group of artists - including painters, musicians, film directors and more - with him on the voyage.

"I'm not afraid at all.I trust him, and I trust [the] SpaceX team", Maezawa said.

Could there be more than one billionaire aboard SpaceX's upcoming lunar fly-around mission? Musk added that the BFR launch system represents "an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of travelling to space".

The 180-foot-long (55 m) spaceship can accommodate 100 people, but SpaceX wants to keep numbers way down on the lunar flyaround, Musk said.

Musk further said that this mission isn't a walk in the park and is risky.

No. Unlike the Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the SpaceX rocket will not be making a lunar landing.

And the 2023 date, by the way, is far from set in stone: A lot of development and testing work will have to go well for SpaceX to hit that target, Musk said.