A Japanese billionaire wants 8 people to come with him on SpaceX’s first civilian mission round the moon. Here’s what it’s like to apply for the competition.

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Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has launched an open competition for people to accompany him on the first commercial, civilian space flight round the moon on SpaceX’s Starship rocket.

The trip is slated to last six days: three days to get to the moon and loop round the back of it, and three days to return to Earth. Maezawa bought eight tickets for the flight, which is scheduled to take place in 2023, back in 2018. Originally he said he would give the seats to artists, but now he is broadening the search.

In January 2020, Maezawa also said he would take part in a reality TV show to find a girlfriend to accompany him on the trip, although he later abandoned the idea.

Here’s what the application process to join Maezawa on his 2023 SpaceX flight is like:

First you have to go to Maezawa’s “Dear Moon” website, which looks like this.

To get to the application stage, there’s a big “Join the Crew” button.

The application process is simple. Just fill out a form with basic details about yourself with a picture — and say which of Maezawa’s social media accounts you follow.

The form asks for basic information like name, email address, and country (although this is optional). It also asks you to upload a photo of yourself.

The form also asks the applicant which of Maezawa’s social media accounts they follow, and says he “will be making announcements about this project via social media,
so please follow his accounts.”


Once you’ve applied, you get a certificate with your name and your photo superimposed onto a spacesuit.

You also get a confirmation email of your pre-registration which says: “You will receive an email about the selection process sometime after March 15, 2021. We thank you for your patience and understanding.”

According to the website, the timeline for screening applicants goes like this:

From now until March 14 is “pre-registration” for applicants. Then, until March 21 there will be an “initial screening.”

Next, applicants will be expected to carry out an unspecified “assignment” followed by an online interview. No dates are given for these stages. 

The last stage will take place in late May, and will involve a “final interview” and a medical check.

According to the website, the final selection for the crew will be made by the end of June. They will then have until 2023 to train for space flight.

In a six-minute video, Maezawa talked about the mission and what he’s looking for in applicants.

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Maezawa explained why he’s no longer taking just artists.

“Two years ago, I said I would like to invite artists from around the world to come along with me. That was the initial plan, but it has since evolved,” Maezawa said in the video.

“I began to wonder, who do I mean by artists? A singer? A  dancer? A writer? The more I thought about it, the more ambiguous it became. And I began to think that maybe every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist,” he said.

“That is why I wanted to reach out to a wider, more diverse audience to give more people around the world the opportunity to join this journey. If you see yourself as an artist, then you’re an artist,” he added.

Maezawa said there are two key criteria for applicants.

The first criteria, according to Maezawa, is: “Whatever activity you are into, by going into space, I hope that you can push its envelope to help people and greater society in some way.

“Are you satisfied with what you’re doing right now? By going into space could you do something that’s even better, even bigger? If that sounds like you, please join me.”

The second criteria is being “willing and able to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also appeared in the video, and said he’s confident the rocket will take off on schedule in 2023.

“Yes, I’m highly confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023, and that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023. It’s looking very promising,” Musk said.

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