SpaceX has its first civilian passenger—with a secret identity

By Melissa Locker

SpaceX is taking a page from Jackie Gleason and sending someone straight to the moon.


The company tweeted on Thursday evening that it has signed the world’s “first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle.” This is separate from the commercial astronauts that will fly SpaceX’s NASA missions. As to which lucky person won the Wonka Golden Ticket to IRL space camp, according to a tweet, “who’s flying and why” will be revealed on Monday, September 17, during an event at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Before you lay any wagers on it being Azealia Banks, when SpaceX founder Elon Musk was asked, he tweeted a Japanese flag emoji. That mostly likely means the passenger is from Japan, SpaceX is moving to Japan, or Musk is simply trolling people with emojis.

The moon trip makes good on SpaceX’s 2017 announcement that it intended to send two private individuals around the moon by the end of 2018 aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket and Dragon spacecraft. As for when that moon trip might be faked happen, sources suggested to Ars Technica that the company is targeting an internal date of 2024 or earlier, while its public date is the slightly more aspirational December 2022.

Details won’t be confirmed until the event on Monday, so have fun guessing. (Naomi Osaka? Totoro? Masi Oka? Haruki Murakami? Takashi Murakami?)



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