Sept. 17 (UPI) -- SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private space passenger to fly around the moon on Monday evening.
Maezawa will be carried on a trip around around the moon on the aerospace company's next-generation rocket, the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR.
"The first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard BFR is fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa," SpaceX confirmed on Twitter.
Musk's made the announcement during a brief event streamed live online. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO framed the trip around the moon as an important part of the company's larger mission to colonize Mars.
"The reason for creating SpaceX was to accelerate the advent of humanity being a space-bearing civilization," Musk said during his opening remarks.
After being announced as the first BFR customer, Maezawa joined Musk on stage.
"Ever since I was a kid I have loved the moon," Maezawa said. "That is why I could not pass up the opportunity to see the moon up close."
Maezawa told the audience he plans to invite painters, musicians, photographers and filmmakers to join him on the trip around the moon -- a voyage Musk said will take roughly five days.
"I choose to go the moon with artists," Maezawa said.
The trip is set to happen in 2023.
According to Forbes, Maezawa is worth $2.9 billion. The founder of Zozotown, Japan's largest online clothing retailer site, has likened himself to Musk in the past. According to Maezawa, the two entrepreneurs both enjoy disrupting established industries.
Maezawa declined to say how much he will pay for the trip, but said he has already made a downpayment -- an amount Musk said will make a "material impact" on the BFR program.
The plans aren't exactly new. In 2017, SpaceX said two unnamed people had put down large deposits to reserve a spot on the private lunar flight. Originally, the Falcon Heavy -- which completed its first static test fire earlier this year -- was scheduled to carry space tourists to the moon and back in late 2018.
Those plans were nixed. Now, if all goes as planned, Maezawa and his artist friends will by carried on their lunar journey by BFR.
Over the weekend, Musk shared new renderings of the Big Falcon Rocket. The drawings show the rocket in a slightly updated form.
The BFR is actually two components: a powerful booster and a passenger-carrying module, the Big Falcon Spaceship.