1st SpaceX passenger: ‘I choose to go to the moon!’

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.

The announcement was made at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The launch is scheduled to happen in 2023.

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.

Chris Carlson/AP
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, left, announces Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, right, as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, on Sept. 17, 2018, in Hawthorne, Calif.

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.

PHOTO: In this file photo taken on Sept. 28, 2017, Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks below a computer generated illustration of his new rocket at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images
In this file photo taken on Sept. 28, 2017, Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks below a computer generated illustration of his new rocket at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.

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