On Monday evening at the SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, Calfornia, Elon Musk introduced billionaire entrepreneur and art collector Yusaku Maezawa, as the mystery space tourist who has reserved a BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) for a flyby trip around the Moon. (See previous posting.) The flight could happen as early as 2023.

Maezawa will not be alone on the BFR, which can carry up to 100 people. He will take a group of 6-8 artists, film makers, architects, and other creative people of his choosing to share the 4-5 day long experience with him.

The BFR lunar flyby trajectory.

Maezawa has created a website #dearMoon to provide updates on the project. Here is a video about #dearMoon:

Maezawa would not say how much he will pay for the flight but Elon said the deposit alone will make a serious contribution towards the development of the BFR, which he said would probably cost in the $5 billion dollar range.

Major BFR structural components are already under construction and the Raptor engines are in an advanced state of testing. Up and down flights, or “hops”, of the upper stage are expected by late next year.

Yusaku Maezawa: “This is BFR from @spacex #dearMoon… “

[ Update: More about the big cylinder above – Elon Musk on Twitter:  “That’s the first BFR airframe/tank barrel section
​made of a new carbon fiber material… “]

Elon describes the latest BFR design:

A description of how the BFS (Big Falcon Spaceship, i.e. the upper stage) slows down in the atmosphere and then lands on the surface of Earth or Mars:

Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut, gives his first impression of the night’s announcement:

Reports on the event:

Elon and Yusaku.