Japanese billionaire Maezawa picks K-pop star TOP, DJ Steve Aoki to join SpaceX moon trip

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TOKYO, Dec. 9 (Reuters) – Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed on Friday that K-pop star TOP and DJ Steve Aoki are among eight crew members he plans to take on a trip around the moon next year. ride on one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets.

Maezawa bought every seat on the first lunar voyage, which has been in the works since 2018 and which last year would follow its journey on a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 12-day stint.

The picks were announced by Maezawa on Twitter and on a website for what he called the #dearMoon project.

The fashion magnate and his crew would become the first passengers on the SpaceX flyby from the moon, while commercial companies, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, usher in a new era of space travel for wealthy clients.

The mission aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle is expected to last eight days from launch to return to Earth, including three days around the moon, within 200 kilometers of the lunar surface. Although the flight was scheduled for 2023, it is being delayed due to ongoing testing of the spacecraft and its rockets.

Like fellow billionaire Musk, Maezawa has a burst of promotion and is in love with Twitter — he boasted that he held the Guinness world record for the most retweeted post when he offered a 1 million yen ($7,300) cash prize to 100 winners for retweeting.

Maezawa used the microblogging site to recruit eight crew members from around the world to join him on the lunar journey, saying 1 million people signed up.

TOP, the stage name of Choi Seung Hyun who broke up with the K-pop group Big Bang, is one of the selected members with a higher profile, along with Aoki, a Japanese-American musician and DJ whose father founded the Benihana restaurant chain.

“I feel great pride and responsibility to become the first Korean citizen to go to the moon,” TOP said in a video posted after the announcement.

Indian actor Dev Joshi was also one of the favorites for the group, which largely consisted of artists and photographers. American Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and Japanese dancer Miyu were named as backup crew members.

Maezawa, 47, flagged an update to the lunar expedition on Monday, tweeting that he had held an online meeting with Musk and was preparing a “major space announcement.”

Maezawa made his fortune by founding the online fashion retailer Zozo Inc (3092.T), of which Softbank Group Corp’s (9984.T) internet company is now the largest shareholder.

($1 = 136.7600 yen)

Reporting by Rocky Swift; Edited by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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