It will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the founder and chief executive of online fashion retailer Zozo. Over the past two decades, the South African-born American entrepreneur has emerged as one of Silicon Valley's most recognized faces worldwide.
He continued: "Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon ... just staring at the moon filled my imagination ... it's continued to inspire humanity, and that's why I could not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close".
SpaceX didn't provide many details about the announcement, including whether the passenger will be there in person when Musk makes the announcement Monday from the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
Maezawa declined to say how much he's paying for the flight, but Musk said it'll be free for the artists. Not only does the company plan to use the craft to send people to Mars, it could also serve as a high-speed transportation system here on Earth, shuttling passengers between any two points on the planet in under an hour.
During a news conference at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, company founder and CEO Elon Musk introduced Maezawa as the first passenger on the new BFR (sometimes short for "Big Falcon Rocket") rocket-spaceship duo now under construction, and confirmed that Maezawa would ride in a loop around the moon. SpaceX is still working hard at getting its Big Falcon Rocket ready for its first test launches, and the company will need to put its launch systems through their paces well in advance of taking passengers anywhere.
Musk said the billionaire will pay "a lot of money" for the lunar orbit but he declined to disclose the exact amount.
The first space tourist was Dennis Tito, an American businessman who in 2001 paid some $20million to fly on a Russian spaceship to the International Space Station.
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The BFR is essentially a 48m long spaceship attached to the top of a reusable 36m rocket booster. The moon trip would last four to five days, he said.
BFR will inevitably borrow heavily from almost a decade of designing, building, testing, launching, and upgrading 60+ Falcon 9 and Heavy rockets, all successes and failures included. The spacecraft is meant to buzz around the moon without landing.
If you were dreaming of being the first private citizen in space. you've been beaten to it.
Virgin's trip will cost about $250,000.
Besides running SpaceX and Tesla, Musk has also invested in the solar energy company SolarCity to turn his vision of a solar-powered future into a reality.
But so far this year, his space firm has also kept up a schedule outpaced only by the Chinese government, making 15 launches with its Falcon 9 rocket.