Elon Musk tweets new images of SpaceX's forthcoming BFR spacecraft

SpaceX announces new plan to send tourist around Moon

This isn't the first time Musk has vowed to send tourists around the Moon. Nevertheless, SpaceX is pressing on, and apparently feels confident enough in its work that it is comfortable parading its first paying private space "tourist" in front of the world.

The deep-pocketed space explorer is Yusaku Maezawa, a 42-year-old Japanese billionaire and founder of online fashion mall Zozotown.

That original mission would have used a Falcon Heavy rocket - the most powerful rocket flying today - and a Dragon crew capsule similar to the one NASA astronauts will use to fly to the International Space Station as early as next year. Maezawa has plenty of money to devote to this moon shot.

SpaceX, Elon Musk's space transportation company, was set on Monday to name the first private passenger who will take a trip around the moon aboard its forthcoming Big Falcon Rocket spaceship, taking the race to commercialize space travel to new heights.

Musk says the moon mission will take four or five days and will go through uncrewed tests prior to sending a person out. The price for a SpaceX lunar mission is likely hefty and well beyond the pocketbooks of everyday people.

More news: Elon Musk sued by British diver he accused of being a pedophile

Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla Motors, has drawn attention in recent months over his erratic behavior. Had SpaceX followed through with that plan, it could have returned humans to the moon near the 50th anniversary of NASA's historic Apollo 8 mission around the moon in December 1968. Twelve walked on the lunar surface.

The spacecraft will continue on toward the Moon, powered by its own engines.

The individual will travel in a giant spacecraft that SpaceX has created to fly to Mars.

The BFR is essentially a 48m long spaceship attached to the top of a reusable 36m rocket booster.

Now featuring myriad new features like small canards, a trio of larger wings (two featuring a flexible, hinged design), the return of the 2016 Interplanetary Transport System's elegant bow windows, and an extraordinarily intriguing business end with no vacuum-optimized Raptor engines, SpaceX is clearly still iterating on the design of the rocket it hopes will - eventually - enable widespread and relatively affordable crewed flights to Mars.

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