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SpaceX's dramatic announcement last night (Sept. 17) that it has sold the ultimate luxury vacation package — a visit to the moon for half a dozen people aboard a rocket that has yet to be built — garnered plenty of attention.
If all goes according to plan, in 2023 Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa and hand-selected companion artists will ride a Big Falcon Rocket to loop around the moon, spending about a week off the Earth.
SpaceX - Japanese - Billionaire - Yusaku - Maezawa
SpaceX has signed Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as its first passenger on a tourist trip around the moon aboard the company's Big Falcon Rocket launch system. But the plan isn't the first private moon tourist project. Not even for SpaceX.
First, there's an experienced competitor, Space Adventures, which has already borrowed Russian Soyuz capsules to carry half a dozen tourists to the International Space Station over the course of eight years. In 2011, the company announced it intended to sell trips into lunar orbit as well by 2014, although those journeys have not yet materialized.
Years - Competitor - Interest - Lunar - Stage
A few years later, another competitor expressed interest in stepping onto the lunar stage: Golden Spike, a lower-profile company founded in 2012 that aspired to land both rovers and eventually tourists on the moon. But that company appears to have folded before any of their designs came to life, much less left Earth.
In 2014, the company was offering trips to the moon at a cost between $500 million and $750 million, along with plans for robotic lunar rovers for scientific exploration. Golden...
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