SpaceX to name first passenger for a round trip to the moon

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SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company founder Elon Musk speaks at the 2018 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, in Hawthorne, California on July 22, 2018.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced Monday night that entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa would be the first private person to fly aboard its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) launch vehicle.

It's time to find out who SpaceX is sending around the moon on its Big Falcon Rocket.

SpaceX did not reveal how much Maezawa paid for the lunar flight, but said it was a significant sum and that he'd already made a down payment.

At the time, SpaceX said two people signed a deal with SpaceX to make a trip around the moon aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket. As such, reports Forbes, SpaceX has announced that he will be the first paying passenger on its BFR spacecraft destined for a trip around the moon.

The mission won't land on the surface of the moon but will ferry Maezawa and his artist crewmates around Earth's natural satellite. The first manned flight is expected in April 2019 - a demonstration flight carrying two NASA astronauts.

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk outlined a somewhat different mission past year. SpaceX's crewed missions are now scheduled to begin by the middle of next year.

NASA's Apollo 8 mission took off on December 21, 1968, sending astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders on a flight to orbit the moon.

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In an interview in March, Musk said the ship was now being built, adding "I think we'll probably be able to do short flights, short sort of up-and-down flights, probably sometime in the first half of next year".

The United States hasn't had the ability to put humans in orbit since the Space Shuttle era ended in 2011.

Musk later reversed course, saying the company no longer has plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight.

Before Monday's announcement, Musk last publicly described the BFR and showed renderings of the system at the 2017 International Aeronautical Congress. BFR is shorthand for Big Falcon Rocket.

Maezawa isn't the first tourist to the space.

He says it's been his lifelong dream to go into space.

Musk, who is well-known for issuing overly ambitious schedules, said during a Q&A in March that he hoped to begin testing the spaceship portion of the BFR sometime in 2019.