Yusaku Maezawa (42) is a billionaire and is believed to be the 18th richest person in Japan. He owns businesses and is worth US$ 3 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He had met Elon Musk in California and discussed plans of becoming the first space tourist of SpaceX. His destination will be the moon and he would fly around it with a select group of artists.

Sky News reports that details of cost implications and time frame are yet to be worked out but Maezawa wants to make the trip in SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) spaceship. If things work out as per plan, he can lay claim to being the first man to Travel to the moon after the United States halted its Apollo missions in 1972.

Space tourism has many takers

Elon Musk is already drawing up schedules for SpaceX’s foray into outer space. He has his eyes on Mars with plans of an unmanned mission in 2022 followed by a manned one two years later.

However, the interest shown by the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to undertake a mission to the moon has come as a shot in the arm for Musk. Although there are other competitors in the field, SpaceX will get a head start.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has his Blue Origin while Sir Richard Branson has his Virgin Galactic. They are also trying to gain a foothold in space tourism, but have yet to announce anything concrete enough as Musk has done.

Incidentally, celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber are believed to have linked up with Virgin Galactic for short sub-orbital flights at a cost of $250,000.

The costs indicated by Blue Origin for short sightseeing trips to space are reported to be in a similar range. As to the first ever space tourist, the credit remains with an American billionaire Dennis Tito. He did it in 2001 when he had to shell out money to be included in a mission as a visitor to the International Space Station.

The new era in space tourism

According to CNBC, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will fly around the moon on SpaceX’s next generation rocket, probably in 2023. This has been confirmed by its CEO Elon Musk and will pave the way for man’s return to the moon. The launch will be aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) which is being developed with the long term aim of colonizing Mars.

The BFR can accommodate many people and Yusaku wants to make the journey a memorable one. He plans to take along with him a group of artists from different parts of the world and unveil a new era in space tourism. Of course, members of the team will have to undergo training so that they can adapt to a new lifestyle and operate in an environment totally different to what they are used to on earth.