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SpaceX will fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first ever private tourist to the moon

Michael Sheetz
September 18, 2018

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company's next generation rocket, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.

Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk's vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.

The trip is expected to be launched in 2023.

"Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It's always there and continues to inspire humanity," said Maezawa, one of the richest people in Japan, who made his fortune as the founder of online retailers Start Today and Zozotown.

SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company's Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead and on Monday confirmed that Maezawa is "the same person" who was announced before, just with a larger group now onboard.

"To be clear. This is dangerous.... it's not a sure thing... there are some chances things could go wrong," Musk reiterated.

He refused to reveal the amount Maezawa paid for the mission, saying he was "not disclosing the amount but he's paying a very significant amount of money."

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I'm deeply inspired. And this is ingenious publicity for Zozotown, the No.1 online platform for fashion products in Japan.

Actually bought some stock in Start Today (3092.T) this morning, as I think they have a good chance to 5x in 10 years, given their growth trajectory and being at the forefront of digitalising the fashion industry. They have a shot at becoming the next Uniqlo (Fast Retailing 9983.T) in the next 10 years.

The ingenious marketing reminds me of this old Steve Jobs video. He came across as crazy but earnest, and really believe that what he is doing (very risky and costly, is going to create a positive impact on the world) much like Elon Musk himself.

And the #dearMoon project also encourages artists/influencers to flood social media to compete for a place on the BFR, which creates a compounding publicity impact among their fans. This hype will keep persisting over the next 5 years, as new astronauts are announced; and would even persist way after the Moon project (if successful) as they make history.

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This japanese billionaire is definitely not a valuebuddie.
The BFR Rocket costs about 5b to develop. He said it is significantly higher than the Basquiat painting he paid for $110 million in 2017. Elon said his contribution (deposit and all), actually significantly financed the BFR's development.

I estimate the cost he paid in total for all the seats of the first private moon trip to be $200million - $500 million.

He has a net worth of $3.5billion, so around 6-14% of his total networth.

That in exchange for a life changing experience, and making history, and free publicity for his company for the rest of his life. The company Start Today, was growing market cap very significantly over the last few years, and will likely accelerate from "free publicity" henceforth.

No he is not a valuebuddy, he is an entrepreneur that takes huge risky bets.