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Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa Cancels Lunar Cruise Due to Impatience

Representatives of Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa reported on the dearMoon project website that uncertainty about the readiness of SpaceX’s Starship forced him to cancel the contract for the first tourist flight around the Moon in the company of a group of creative individuals.

“Without a clear schedule in the near term, it was with a heavy heart that Maezawa made the inevitable decision to cancel the project,” the statement said. “To everyone who supported this project and looked forward to this endeavor (we sincerely appreciate it), we apologize for this outcome.”

According to Maezawa, when he signed a contract for a week-long cruise around the moon in 2018, there were clear plans to make the trip at the end of 2023. After this, the billionaire, who made his fortune from an online clothing store, developed a vigorous activity, beginning the selection of eight candidates for his company during the trip.

Various requirements were imposed on candidates, ranging from good health to creative plans. The flight around the Moon was supposed to inspire the first lunar tourists to do something especially sublime in one form or another of the arts. Below we will present a list of candidates approved for the flight.

Steve Aoki is a popular American DJ, producer and electronic dance music artist with several studio albums that have charted on the Billboard charts;
Tim Dodd is a blogger from the USA, the author of the YouTube channel “Everyday Astronaut” dedicated to astronautics;
Yemi A.D. (Yemi AD) is an artist and choreographer from the Czech Republic, known for his work with JAD Dance Company and Ye (Kanye West);
Karim Iliya is a photographer from the UK whose work is published by National Geographic magazine;
Rhiannon Adam is an award-winning Irish photographer supported by the BBC and the Royal Geographical Society;
Brendan Hall is a documentary filmmaker from the USA;
Dev Joshi is an Indian actor and blogger;
Choi Seung Hyun is a South Korean rapper (under the pseudonym TOP), model and actor;

Two backup participants in the project: dancer Miyu from Japan and American snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington.
“I cannot plan for my future in this situation, and I feel terrible making the team members continue to wait, hence the difficult decision to cancel the trip at this time,” Maezawa explained his choice.

In the coming days, the Starship is scheduled to make its fourth test flight to orbital altitude. It is obvious that a lot of time will still pass before flights into orbit, not to mention missions to the Moon. The worst thing is that no one undertakes to predict when the Starship will be brought to a state that guarantees a flight to the Moon and return. NASA believes that this could happen in the fall of 2026, but most experts perceive this date as overly optimistic.

Yusaka Maezawa himself has already been in space. In 2021, he flew as a tourist to the ISS on the Russian Soyuz, paying, according to unconfirmed reports, around $63 million for the tour.

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