Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on Friday named South Korean rapper TOP and DJ Steve Aoki among the eight performers and performers who will join him on a private SpaceX trip around the moon starting next year.
Maezawa, a 47-year-old entrepreneur also known as MZ, bought every seat on the trip, the first of its kind by the Elon Musk-owned company. It follows Maezawa’s 12-day trip to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft last year.
Besides TOP – also known as Choi Seung Hyun, former member of K-pop group Big Bang – and Aoki, a Japanese-American musician, other team members of what Maezawa calls the dearMoon project include the Indian actor Dev Joshi and American space YouTuber Tim Dodd.
“I still can’t believe it. It hasn’t even sunk yet – and I’ve known that for quite a while,” Dodd said in a video posted after the announcement.
US Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and Japanese dancer Miyu will be the reserve team members for the trip, which has taken years to prepare.
“I hope everyone recognizes the responsibility that comes with leaving Earth, traveling to the moon and coming back,” Maezawa said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. “They will take a lot from this experience, and I hope they will use it to contribute to the planet, to humanity.”
Maezawa, who founded Japanese fashion retailer Zozo, has a taste for social media drama, offering cash prizes in the past in exchange for retweets. In 2020, he announced on Twitter that a romantic partner would join him on the SpaceX lunar flight before calling off the search weeks later.
In a recruitment announcement in March 2021, Maezawa said he wanted “people from all walks of life” to join him on the trip around the moon. He said a million people had applied.
The eight-day mission aboard SpaceX’s Starship vehicle includes three days around the moon, less than 200 km from the surface. The flight was originally scheduled for 2023 but faced testing delays.