SpaceX announced on Monday night that its first moonshot passenger will be Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire estimated by Forbes to be the 18th-richest person in Japan.
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He'll be the first private passenger to visit the moon in the company's much hyped Big Falcon Rocket -- if the launch happens.
"I choose to go to the moon!" said the 42-year-old Maezawa, who founded Japan's largest online fashion mall and is worth almost $3 billion.
SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle—an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space. Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17. pic.twitter.com/64z4rygYhk— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 14, 2018
The announcement was made at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The launch is scheduled to happen in 2023.
"I love the moon," Maezawa told ABC News' David Kerley following the announcement. "I like to do the things that never have been done before. So I want the challenge to go to the moon."
The announcement was a relief for the Japanese billionaire, who punctuated a question about the announcement with "finally." He told ABC News he's long dreamed of going to the moon.
"It's always been there, it's always been inside of me," Maezawa said, before transitioning to Japanese to say the moon has always "felt like it's protecting me."
"In Japan, you look up at the moon, and it looks like a rabbit," he said, noting that 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac.
It's not the first time the company has made this kind of announcement. In February 2017, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced the first two paying customers had put down a deposit to fly around the moon without landing in the smaller Falcon Heavy rocket sometime this year. In June, the company announced that wouldn't happen.
Earlier this year, on Feb. 6, the Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, launching a red Tesla Roadster driven by a Starman mannequin.
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If Pablo Picasso had been able to see the moon up-close, what kind of paintings would he have drawn? If John Lennon could have seen the curvature of the Earth, what kind of songs would he have written? If they had gone to space, how would the world have looked today? People are creative and have a great imagination. We all have the ability to dream dreams that have never been dreamt, to sing songs that have never been sung, to paint that which has never been seen before. I hope that this project will inspire the dreamer within each of us. Together with Earth's top artists, I will be heading to the moon... just a little earlier than everyone else. I am truly blessed by this opportunity to become Host Curator of “#dearMoon”. I would like to thank Elon Musk and SpaceX for creating the opportunity to go around the moon in their BFR. I would also like to thank all those who have continuously supported me. I vouch to make this project a success. Stay tuned!
Earlier in the day, Musk was sued for defamation by the British driver he had accused of being a "child rapist" and pedophile via tweets and emails to media.
SpaceX has succeeded in its goal of building reusable rockets.