SpaceX's first private passenger is Japanese fashion magnate Maezawa

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Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa declared "I choose to go the the Moon" after being introduced by SpaceX's chief executive Elon Musk at the company's headquarters in California. He said he often mused about what artists like Basquiat or Andy Warhol might have come up with if they'd traveled into space.

The rocket will loop around the Moon before returning to Earth in a journey that is expected to take about six days.

The rocket dubbed BFR has not been built so any flight presumably is at least several years away. He said about BFR, it's "making people excited about the future - about getting up in the morning".

According to Musk's presentation [PDF] past year, the mighty BFR will stand 118 metres tall when erected on its launchpad, and will be able to lift 150 tons into low Earth orbit with the help of a massive central booster, making it the most powerful rocket ever to fly.

SpaceX reminded us only 24 humans have been to the moon and no one has visited since NASA's final 1972 Apollo mission.

NASA is planning its own lunar flyby with a crew around 2023. The outpost would serve as a stepping-off point for the lunar surface, Mars and points beyond.

Musk himself has had a rocky year.

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"You could send people back to the Moon" on the Falcon Heavy rocket, Musk said at the time.

In typical fashion for any company owned by Elon Musk, they've made a decision to do so by blasting a single person - the world's first private passenger, around the moon and back to test the rocket's capability for far space travel.

In February 2017, SpaceX said two "private citizens" had "paid a significant deposit" for a trip around the moon.

Musk's successes have recently been overshadowed by his behavior and the struggles of his Tesla electric vehicle company to deliver.

Prior to the announcement on Monday, Musk took to Twitter to show off two new images of the BFR. And last month he tweeted that his new jet's interior is being fashioned by luxury label Hermes.

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.

He has alleged that a cave diver in Thailand who helped rescue stranded boys was a 'pedo, ' smoked what appeared to be marijuana on a comedian's podcast, spooked Tesla investors with comments about the future of the electric vehicle maker, and admitted to exhaustion and use of the sleeping pill Ambien. The device wasn't used and in the interview, Unsworth called it a "PR stunt" and said it wouldn't have worked to free the boys who were trapped in the flooded cave.

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