dearMoon project
Artistic rendition of Starship firing its engines during its lunar flyby
Mission typeCrewed lunar flyby (cancelled)
OperatorSpaceX
Websitedearmoon.earth
Mission duration6 days (planned)
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeStarship[1][2]
ManufacturerSpaceX
Crew
Crew size9
MembersYusaku Maezawa
Steve Aoki
Choi Seung Hyun
Yemi A.D.
Rhiannon Adam
Tim Dodd
Karim Iliya
Brendan Hall
Dev Joshi
Start of mission
RocketSpaceX Starship[3]
End of mission
DeclaredJune 2024
Landing siteSpaceX Starbase, Texas

dearMoon project insignia  

The dearMoon project was a planned lunar tourism mission and art project conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. It would have seen Maezawa and eight civilian artists fly a circumlunar trajectory around the Moon aboard a SpaceX Starship spacecraft.

Maezawa said he expected the experience of space tourism to inspire the accompanying passengers in the creation of something new. If successful, the art would have been exhibited after returning to Earth, with the goal of promoting peace around the world.[3]

The project was unveiled in September 2018 and initially scheduled to launch in 2023.[4] Due to delays in the development of Starship, it was delayed, then cancelled entirely in June 2024.[5][6]

History

On February 27, 2017, SpaceX announced that they were planning to fly two space tourists on a free-return trajectory around the Moon, now known to be billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and one friend.[7] This mission, which would have launched in late 2018, was planned to use the Crew Dragon capsule already developed under contract for NASA's Commercial Crew Program and launched via a Falcon Heavy rocket.[8] As well as being a source of income for the company, any mission would serve as technology development for SpaceX's further plans to colonize Mars.[9]

At the time of the 2017 announcement, Crew Dragon was still under development and the Falcon Heavy had yet to fly. Industry analysts noted that the schedule proposed by SpaceX might be too ambitious, as the capsule was expected to need modifications to handle differences in flight profile between the proposed lunar flight and its main use for crew transfer to space stations orbiting Earth.[10]

In February 2018, SpaceX announced it no longer had plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight and that lunar missions would be flown on Starship (then called BFR[broken anchor]).[3][11] Starship is expected to have a pressurized volume of 1,000 m3 (35,000 cu ft), large common areas, central storage, a galley, and a solar storm shelter.[12] Then, on 14 September 2018, SpaceX announced that the previously contracted passenger would be launched aboard Starship to fly by the Moon in 2023.[13][14]

The project was unilaterally cancelled by Maezawa in May 2024. Starship development had fallen significantly behind the original SpaceX aspirational date for the flight in 2023—with the lunar flight likely delayed to the 2030s—and Maezawa's net worth had also halved since the time when the DearMoon venture was announced in 2018.[5]

Crew

The project was announced in 2018 with the original intent to bring a crew of artists to the Moon. In this latest release, Maezawa calls for applicants to make up a crew of eight individuals from around the world for the week-long lunar trip.

On February 7, 2019, the dearMoon YouTube channel posted a video in which Maezawa discusses the movie First Man with director Damien Chazelle and lead actor Ryan Gosling. In the video, Maezawa officially invites Chazelle to come with him on his dearMoon project, making Chazelle the first person to be publicly invited to go. However, Chazelle answered that he had to think about it and discuss it with his wife.[15] On March 3, 2021, Yusaku Maezawa announced that eight members of the public will be selected to fly on dearMoon.[16][17] On July 16, 2021, Yuzaku Maezawa uploaded a video that reveals 1 million people have joined, but there was still no information on who won the 8 seats.[18]

On December 8, 2022, the crew of the mission was announced, along with two backup crew members.[19][20]

Primary crew
Position Astronaut
Spacecraft commander Japan Yusaku Maezawa
Would have been second spaceflight
Pilot United States Steve Aoki
Would have been first spaceflight
YouTuber United States Tim Dodd
Would have been first spaceflight
Multidisciplinary Creative Czech Republic Yemi A.D.
Would have been first spaceflight
Photographic Artist Republic of Ireland Rhiannon Adam
Would have been first spaceflight
Photographer United Kingdom Karim Iliya
Would have been first spaceflight
Filmmaker United States Brendan Hall
Would have been first spaceflight
Actor India Dev Joshi
Would have been first spaceflight
Singer South Korea Choi Seung-hyun
Would have been first spaceflight
Backup crew
Position Astronaut
Mission Specialist United States Kaitlyn Farrington
Would have been first spaceflight
Mission Specialist Japan Miyu
Would have been first spaceflight

Objective

The dearMoon project passengers would have been Yusaku Maezawa and eight accomplished artists that Maezawa had invited to travel with him for free.[21][7] Maezawa expected this flight to inspire the artists in their creation of new art, which will be presented some time after their return to Earth. He had hoped this project will help promote peace around the world.[1][22][7]

Mission profile

Initially proposed to launch in 2023, the circumlunar mission was expected to have taken 6 days to complete,[1] following a free-return trajectory similar to that of Apollo 13. NASA is expected to launch Artemis 2 on a similar trajectory in September 2025, with a crew of four.[23]

Cancellation

The mission was cancelled on 1 June 2024, due to Starship's developmental delays.[5][24]

The cancellation was announced on the project website[25] and on X.[26] The cancellation notice[27] stated "Arrangements were being made with SpaceX to target the launch by the end of 2023. Unfortunately, however, launch within 2023 became unfeasible, and without clear schedule certainty in the near-term, it is with a heavy heart that Maezawa made the unavoidable decision to cancel the project".

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c First Private Passenger on Lunar Starship Mission. SpaceX. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2022 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ SpaceX signs its first passenger to fly aboard the Big Falcon Rocket Moon mission Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine. CatchNews. 14 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Foust, Jeff (6 February 2018). "SpaceX no longer planning crewed missions on Falcon Heavy". Spacenews. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Meet the dearMoon Crew!". Meet the dearMoon Crew!. Retrieved 2023-09-06.
  5. ^ a b c Berger, Eric (1 June 2024). "Here's why a Japanese billionaire just canceled his lunar flight on Starship". ArsTechnica. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  6. ^ "Notice of Project Cancellation" (PDF). dearmoon (dearmoon.earth). 2024-06-06.
  7. ^ a b c How SpaceX's 1st Passenger Flight Around the Moon with Yusaku Maezawa Will Work Archived 2020-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. Tariq Malik, Space.com. 18 September 2018.
  8. ^ SpaceX (27 February 2017). "SpaceX to Send Privately Crewed Dragon Spacecraft Beyond the Moon Next Year". SpaceX. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  9. ^ David Dickinson (1 March 2017). "SpaceX Announces 2018 Moonshot Mission". Sky and Telescope. Archived from the original on 18 December 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  10. ^ Mike Wall (4 March 2017). "Could SpaceX Get People to the Moon in 2018?". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 23 November 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  11. ^ Pasztor, Andy. "Elon Musk Says SpaceX's New Falcon Heavy Rocket Unlikely to Carry Astronauts". WSJ. Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 6 February 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  12. ^ "Making Life Multiplanetary: Abridged transcript of Elon Musk's presentation to the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia" (PDF). SpaceX. September 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-08-08. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  13. ^ Eric Ralph (14 September 2018). "SpaceX has signed a private passenger for the first BFR launch around the Moon". Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  14. ^ Grush, Loren (14 September 2018). "SpaceX says it will send someone around the Moon on its future monster rocket". The Verge. Archived from the original on 14 September 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  15. ^ Movie "FIRST MAN" Special talk -Yusaku Maezawa × Damien Chazelle × Ryan Gosling-. dearMoon. 7 February 2019. Archived from the original on 8 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Sheetz, Michael (2 March 2021). "Japanese billionaire to fly eight members of the public on SpaceX moon flight". CNBC. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  17. ^ Maezawa, Yusaku [@yousuckMZ] (3 March 2021). "Get your FREE TICKET to the MOON!!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ 【全世界から100万人が応募】dearMoon 最終選考間近、エントリー映像公開!【1M ENTRIES WORLDWIDE】dearMoon Applicants Sneak Peek!. Yusaku Maezawa【MZ】. 16 July 2021. Archived from the original on 7 November 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ Sheetz, Michael [@thesheetztweetz] (8 December 2022). "Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced the dearMoon crew: DJ & producer Steve Aoki Youtube creator Tim Dodd Artist Yemi A.D. Photographer Karim Iliya Photographer Rhiannon Adam Filmmaker Brendan Hall Actor Dev Joshi Musician T.O.P. https://t.co/8QRphzGKef" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 9 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ dearMoon Crew Announcement! | 月周回プロジェクトdearMoon クルー発表. Yusaku Maezawa【MZ】. 8 December 2022. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ 前澤友作@MZDAO [@yousuck2020] (19 September 2018). "After a press conference, we talked a lot at Elon's home. He said that it would be reliable if 1-2 astronauts will be on board. #dearMoon @elonmusk" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 30 September 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Dear Moon Archived 2020-01-12 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed: 17 September 2018.
  23. ^ Foust, Jeff (9 January 2024). "NASA delays Artemis 2 and 3 missions". SpaceNews. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  24. ^ "Japanese billionaire cancels private flight around the moon on SpaceX's giant Starship". Space.com.
  25. ^ "dearMoon Project". Retrieved June 1, 2024.
  26. ^ "x.com". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved 2024-06-01.
  27. ^ "Notice of Project Cancellation" (PDF). dearMoon Project. June 1, 2024. Retrieved June 1, 2024.