A group of artists, athletes and entertainers, including DJ Steve Aoki, are slated to join Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a private SpaceX flight around the moon as soon as next year.
The unorthodox crew was announced in a video posted online Thursday by Maezawa, who said last year that he wanted to include “people from all kinds of backgrounds.” The group also includes South Korean rapper T.O.P, space YouTuber Tim Dodd, actor Dev Joshi and photographer Karim Iliya, along with snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and dancer Miyu as backups.
Maezawa in 2018 put down a deposit for a flight on what would later be known as Starship, SpaceX’s most powerful next-generation launch vehicle. The founder and former chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo Inc. dubbed the project “dearMoon,” and last year solicited video applications from hopefuls seeking to join him on the round-the-moon mission.
While SpaceX said the flight could be held as early as next year, Starship remains behind schedule and has yet to launch to orbit. SpaceX, whose formal name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., had recently targeted as early as December for the vehicle’s first test flight to orbit.
Maezawa has already been to space. In December 2021, the billionaire flew to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket, after coordinating with a space tourism company called Space Adventures. He lived on the ISS for a little less than two weeks.
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