Today, SpaceX announced that Yusaku Maezawa will be the first paying passenger and private citizen to fly aboard the BFR around the moon. But they were very careful throughout the live stream announcement to not share exactly how much he spent to get this honor. Although the exact price that he paid was not confirmed during the live stream, there was one moment when they might have given away an idea about what he paid.
At 1:37:40 in the video above, a reporter asked Maezawa, “Have you thought about how you are going to select the artists? And Mr. Musk, can you give us an idea of whether (you) contributed more or less than 5 percent of the development cost?”
Maezawa responded to the second question instead of Musk. He said, “In principle, I’d like to reach out the artists that I love… and I’m happy with just 5 percent, thank you very much for working on the rocket.”
At that point, Musk said, “I don’t think we can, obviously do any percentage math, that would kind of give it away… But it’s a material percentage.”
It’s not clear if Maezawa was saying that 5 percent was the closest to what he contributed, or if he was saying that he was happy to leave the guess at 5 percent and not provide any additional details. Earlier in the conference, Maezawa was very clear to another reporter that he was not going to disclose how much he contributed.
Musk estimated the development cost of the BFR as being $5 billion, and 5 percent of that would be $250 million. That’s a significant sum, but Yusaku Maezawa’s net worth as of September 2018 is approximately $2.9 billion, according to Forbes. He could certainly afford 5 percent if that is the amount.
His payment will be part of helping to fund BFR. “Any customers for BFR are incredibly helpful in funding the development of the rocket,” Musk said during the conference.
Last year, two people approached Elon Musk and paid a significant deposit to fly around the moon but not land, ABC News reported. At that time, Musk only said that those passengers were not from Hollywood. Today, he hinted that Maezawa was one of those two, but now because of the size of the BFS, he’ll be able to bring more than just one other person with him.
“He was the best adventurer,” Musk said about why they chose him. “He stepped forward to do it. We’re honored that he would choose us. This is not us choosing him. He’s a very brave person to do this. Because he’s paying a lot of money — we’re not disclosing the amount — …that will help with the development of the ship and booster…”
In conclusion, despite the hints that might have been given during the press conference, we do not know exactly how much Yusaku Maezawa paid to join the SpaceX trip around the moon. But we do know that because of his generosity, six to eight artists will be able to join him in 2023 for free.
He’s created a project called #DearMoon. In 2023, he would like to invite six to eight artists from around the world to join him on a mission to the world, and they’ll be asked to create something when they return, inspiring dreams and hope. He wants to include painters, sculptors, film directors, fashion designers, musicians, and other artists. He hasn’t picked them yet. You can follow his accounts on social media at @dearmoonproject to learn more.
Do you think that moment in the press conference revealed what Maezawa paid? Let us know in the comments below.